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Kazakhstan27 November 2006

Press freedom group becomes party to French investigation into journalist’s death in Almaty

Reporters Without Borders was granted civil party status on 20 November in an investigation into the death of French journalist Grégoire de Bourgues that is to be conducted by French examining magistrate Olivier Deparis at his family’s request. De Bourgues was murdered in August in the Kazakh capital of Almaty.

“We will follow this case until the end, alongside the De Bourgues family,” the press freedom organisation said. “The killers’ motives are unclear and no hypothesis can be ruled out for the time being. We therefore call on Judge Deparis to got to Kazakhstan to conduct all the enquiries and interviews and obtain all the expert evidence necessary to establish the facts.”

De Bourgues, 24, had gone to Kazakhstan for three months to help prepare an advertising feature which the Kazakh government had commissioned from SML Strategic Media. The Almaty police say he had the misfortune to be killed by three burglars who broke into his apartment and stole between 4,000 and 5,000 euros, a laptop and a mobile phone.

The police arrested two suspects at the end of August. A third is on the run.

Reporters Without Borders visited Almaty from September 20 to 24 to investigate the case. During the visit, the deputy interior ministry undertook to let the De Bourgues family and their representatives have access to the case file and to attend any trial that takes place. The family filed its request in Paris for a French judicial investigation on 8 September.

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