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Kyrgyzstan Should Investigate Journalist's Mysterious Death
Kyrgyzstan should undertake a thorough independent investigation into the mysterious death of Ernest Nazalov, a journalist who investigated corruption among Kyrgyz officials.
Mr. Nazalov's body was reportedly found September 15 in a river in the Osh Oblast region of Kyrgyzstan. While law enforcement officials say the body showed no sings of injury, Mr. Nazalov's father reported that his son's right hand was broken and featured stab wounds.
At the time of his death, Mr. Nazalov, who was 27 years old, worked as a correspondent for the newspaper Kyrgyz Ruhu. He earlier worked for the youth newspaper, Civindem, whose chief editor, Sanjar Abdykadyrov, said Mr. Nazalov had been investigating alleged corruption among top local officials and that he may have uncovered incriminating evidence against them.
In August, Mr. Nazalov was purportedly preparing an article about corruption among officials in Osh. Alisher Toksonbaev, a journalist with the Osh Media Resource Center, reported that two people beat Mr. Nazalov two weeks prior to his death. They also reportedly seized documents related to his investigative work.
"Mr. Nazalov's mysterious death, coming as it did while he was looking into official corruption, demands an immediate, full, and independent investigation," said Freedom House Executive Director Jennifer Windsor.
According to Freedom House's Freedom of the Press 2003 survey, Kyrgyzstan's press is rated "Not Free."
Freedom House bacground reports on Kyrgyzstan are available online:
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.