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Russia30 July 2008

Tajik court convicts two men of murdering TV journalist in Moscow

Tajikistan’s supreme court today found two men guilty of murdering journalist Ilyas Shurpayev of Russia’s Perviy Kanal (Channel One) television last March in Moscow and sentenced them to 21 years in prison.

Shurpayev was found strangled on 21 March in his Moscow apartment, which his killers set on fire as they fled with cash and valuables. The two men convicted today were arrested in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe several days after the murder. They confessed to the robbery but not the murder.

They were tried in Tajikistan because Russia did not request their extradition.

10.04 - Russian authorities will not request extradition of Tajik citizens held for murdering journalist in Moscow

The Moscow prosecutor’s office announced on 8 April that it will not request the extradition of two Tajik citizens who have been arrested in Tajikistan for the murder of journalist Ilyas Shurpayev in Moscow.

The two Tajik detainees are to be tried in Tajikistan. Shurpayev, who worked for of Russia’s Perviy Kanal (Channel One) television, was stabbed to death in his Moscow apartment on 21 March.

01.04 - Three suspects arrested in Tajikistan for journalist’s murder in Moscow

The authorities in Tajikistan have arrested three Tajik men for the 21 March murder of journalist Ilyas Shurpayev of Russia’s Channel One television in Moscow, a Tajik interior ministry official announced at a news conference yesterday in Dushanbe. Two of the suspects have reportedly confessed to the murder. The third is said to have been only indirectly involved.

“The three suspects met Ilyas Shurpayev by chance and he invited them to his home,” the ministry official said. The police believe the motive for the murder was robbery and this is supported by the confessions obtained from the suspects. They were found in possession Shurpayev’s mobile phone and gold watch, as well as a large sum of money he had at home for the purchase of an apartment.

21.03 - TV journalist murdered in his Moscow apartment

Journalist Ilyas Shurpayev, a specialist in the North Caucasus employed by state-owned Perviy Kanal (Channel One) television, was found dead early this morning in his rented Moscow apartment. He had been strangled with a belt. The police have opened a murder investigation.

“We are shocked and saddened by Shurpayev’s murder,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We urge the authorities to carry out a thorough investigation and to consider all hypotheses, including the possibility that it was linked to his work as a journalist, which is such a risky profession in Russia.”

Shurpayev’s body was found when firemen came in response to a report by neighbours that there was a fire in the apartment, which he began renting last month. The investigators think his killers may have started the fire in an attempt to eliminate any possible clues.

It is thought that Shurpayev, 32, let his killers into the apartment. He had called the building’s concierge at 2 a.m. to ask her to allow two people, apparently of North Caucasus origin, into the building.

Investigators are not ruling out the possibility that he was killed in connection with his work. The head of the Perviy Kanal office in Dagestan, where Shurpayev used to work, said he did not know why he was murdered. “I do not understand, I spoke to him yesterday evening at 6 p.m. and everything was all right,” he said.

A few hours before his death, Shurpayev posted an entry in his blog about a dispute between the management and staff of the Dagestan-based newspaper Nastoyashee Vremya. The publisher had just given the staff a list of names of people who were not to be mentioned or quoted. Shurpayev’s name was at the head of the list.

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