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Russia2 April 2004

Reporters Without Borders urges French president to raise case of journalist kidnapped in Ingushetia

Reporters Without Borders urged French President Jacques Chirac to raise the case of an Agence France-Presse (AFP) journalist kidnapped in Ingushetia, at his meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow on 2 April.

Armed men snatched AFP correspondent for Ingushetia, Ali Astamirov, 34, a Chechen national, in Nazran, capital of the Ingush republic, on 4 July 2003 and drove him towards Chechnya. There has been no news of him since.

No ransom demand has been made to the family or to AFP and the kidnappers have not made contact. Neither the detectives on the case in Moscow nor the prosecutor’s office in Nazran have made any significant progress in their investigations.

In the months before his arrest the journalist, who is the father of two children, received several anonymous threats and had moved house for safety reasons. These threats and the absence of any ransom demand appear to confirm that Astamirov was kidnapped because of his work as a journalist.

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