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Two Russian Journalists Killed In Past Three Days


Telman (Abdulla) Alishayev (courtesy of Daghestan's Spiritual Board of Muslims)

Telman (Abdulla) Alishayev (courtesy of Daghestan's Spiritual Board of Muslims)

A television journalist has been shot and killed in the southern Russian republic of Daghestan, RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service reports.

The murder comes just days after the violent death in police custody of Magomed Yevloyev, the proprietor of the only opposition website in another southern Russian republic, Ingushetia.

Telman (Abdulla) Alishayev was a journalist with GTRK Daghestan, a state television company, and TV-Chirkei, a small private channel that broadcasts mostly Islam-related programs. He was shot in the head and shoulder by two gunmen last night in Makhachkala, the capital of Daghestan. He died early this morning in hospital.

Local investigators appear to have little doubt that Alishayev was killed because of his professional activities. He hosted programs on both channels that were severely critical of "nontraditional" denominations in Daghestan, primarily Salafism, an austere form of Islam often associated with Islamic militancy in the North Caucasus.

Alishayev was also a disciple of Sayyid-Effendi of Chirkei, a self-styled Sufi sheikh, reviled by Daghestani salafis for his purported theological ignorance and close ties with the government.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for Alishayev's murder. Assassinations of critics of Salafi Islam are not uncommon in Daghestan, however. Over the past few years, Daghestani militants have killed two government ministers, a TV company chief, a deputy mufti of the republic, and a political scientist, as well scores of government officials and police.

Russia is considered by media watchdog groups to be one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists to work.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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