Kyrgyzstan25 November 2008
Officials again rule out Alisher Sayipov’s journalism as motive for his murder
Reporters Without Borders is disturbed that a Kyrgyz interior ministry official said at a news conference in Bishkek on 21 November that investigators have ruled out any possibility that Alisher Sayipov’s work as a journalist was the motive for his October 2007 murder in the southern city of Osh. No clear evidence was presented to support this position.
“Given the views expressed by Sayipov in his journalism and the circumstances of his death, we are more than sceptical about the validity of this decision,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The direction recently taken by the investigation, suggesting that the former foreign minister’s son was involved, reinforces our concern. We urge the authorities to act transparently and share the evidence that led them to these conclusions.”
The press freedom organisation added : “We have not forgotten that it was only thanks to the perseverance of Sayipov’s family and the journalistic community that the investigation was resumed after being abandoned several times. The desire of the Kyrgyz authorities to solve this case is far from being established. We will not be fobbed off with scapegoats.”
Deputy interior minister Dmitri Fedorov announced at a press conference on 21 November that the Sayipov murder investigation had been extended because new evidence had come to light. But he said his department was no longer considering the hypothesis that “Alisher Sayipov was gunned down for a political reason” and added that the son of former foreign minister Alikbek Djekshenkulov, now a government opponent, is wanted in connection with the case.
According to the interior ministry, ballistic tests on the bullets extracted from Sayipov’s body established that they were fired from a Makarov pistol now in possession of the police. The gun was allegedly used in a clash between two groups of youths outside a Bishkek nightclub called X.O in February. The ministry says Bekkul Djekshenkulov, the former foreign minister’s son, led one of these groups.
Alikbek Djekshenkulov responds that these allegations are designed to discredit him and insists that his son had nothing to do with the Sayipov murder. He said his son was questioned as a witness in the X.O. case and that the ballistic test results, which had been known for several months, were being used now in an attempt to undermine the opposition. He added that his son is now abroad.