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Russia23 July 2003

Journalist killed in Moscow

Reporters Without Borders called today for a thorough investigation into the 18 July shooting death of Alikhan Gulyev taking into account threats he received last year after writing articles about the presidential election in the Russian republic of Ingushetia.

The journalist, who was killed by two bullets in the back as he went into his apartment in northern Moscow, freelanced for the TV station TV Tsenter and the newspaper Kommersant and had covered the Chechnya conflict since arriving in Moscow last year. Before that, he was based in Ingushetia, where he worked for the public TV station GTRK and the newspaper Severny Kavkaz. Officials have begun an enquiry into the murder.

In the run-up to the 16 April 2002 election, he had filed a complaint for violation of the electoral law against interior minister Khamsat Gutseryev, a candidate in the poll who was backed by former Ingushetian President Ruslan Aushev. Soon afterwards, on 27 March, gunmen fired at his car. The supreme court upheld his complaint on 5 April and disqualified Gutseryev from the election, saying he should have resigned as minister before running.

Gulyev had also accused Gutseryev, in a December 2001 article in Severny Kavkaz, of using public funds for his campaign. After getting threats, the journalist moved to Moscow following the elections, which were won by Murat Ziazikov, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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