Kyrgyzstan4 March 2009
Journalist narrowly survives after being stabbed 21 times
Reporters Without Borders condemns an attack of unprecedented violence on journalist Syrgak Abdyldaev of the independent weekly Reporter Bishkek yesterday evening in the street outside the newspaper’s office in Bishkek. As he was leaving, four men got out of a car and stabbed him 21 times. They also broke both of his hands, his forearms and ribs.
He was rushed to a hospital intensive care unit where, despite losing a lot of blood, his condition is now stable. He is expected to undergo two major operations in the next few days.
“The attack on Abdyldaev is appalling and confirms the climate of extreme hostility towards the press that prevails in Kyrgyzstan,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The authorities say they are investigating, but that is not enough. We insist that everything possible is done to shed light on this serious assault. Those responsible must be tried and punished.”
Reporter Bishkek is one of the few independent Kyrgyz newspapers publishing reports and editorials critical of the government. Its latest issue, published on 27 February, had two articles on the country’s political and economic situation. One of them, co-authored by the editor, referred to the possibility that President Kurmanbek Bakiyev could win another term in elections expected to be held in the autumn.
Kyrgyzstan was ranked 111th out of 173 countries in the latest Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. Eighteen months after independent journalist Alisher Sayipov, the publisher of the newspaper Sayasat, was gunned down in the southern city of Osh in October 2007, neither the perpetrators nor the instigators of his murder have been identified.