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Kazakhstan29 August 2002

Report of fact-finding mission : death of Kazakh journalist’s daughter
Reporters Without Borders and Damocles Network question the official version

image 100 x 120 (JPEG) Reporters Without Borders and Damocles Network today released a previously unpublished report on the suspicious death on 21 June 2002 of Leila Bayseitova, 25, the daughter of Kazakh opposition journalist Lira Bayseitova.

At this stage in the explanations provided by the police and judiciary, Reporters Without Borders and Damocles Network consider the version maintained by the authorities to be riddled with discrepancies and not very convincing. On 16 June 2002, while detained for illegal possession of drugs, the young woman was hospitalised in a coma. She died five days later. According to the official version, she committed suicide while suffering withdrawal symptoms.

Reporters Without Borders and Damocles Network were concerned about the possible links between this death and Lira Bayseitova’s professional activity. The two organisations therefore quickly dispatched a fact-finding mission to Almaty (in south-eastern Kazakhstan) with the aim of clarifying the circumstances of this tragic death.

The former editor in chief of the opposition newspaper Respublika 2000, Lira Bayseitova had just published an interview in the daily newspaper SolDat with Geneva’s former public prosecutor Bernard Bertossa, who confirmed to her the existence of Swiss bank accounts held by several senior Kazakh officials including President Nursultan Nazarbayev. She claims to have been the victim on several occasions of different forms of intimidation - physical attacks, telephone threats - as a result of her investigation into political corruption in Kazakhstan.

Reporters Without Borders and Damocles Network have undertaken to continue following this case. In accordance with the wishes of the civil party, they have in particular proposed the help of independent experts in forensic medicine and toxicology in order to obtain a second expert opinion following exhumation of the body.

-  Download the report (.pdf, 200 Ko)

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