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Tajik Police Deny Suspect Arrested In Kyrgyz Journalist's Murder

Alisher Saipov was killed in 2007

Alisher Saipov was killed in 2007

Regional Tajik police say they know nothing about the reported arrest of a man suspected in the 2007 murder of Kyrgyz journalist Alisher Saipov.

Kyrgyz Interior Ministry spokesman Bakyt Seyitov told RFE/RL's Uzbek Service that his ministry was told on January 14 about the arrest of a Tajik citizen, Farrukh Sharakhmatullaev, by the Sughd police department.

Seyitov said the ministry and Prosecutor-General's Office are currently trying to secure the suspect's extradition to Kyrgyzstan.

But Dilyavar Alizoda, a police department spokesman in the northern city of Sughd, told RFE/RL today that reports of a man being arrested in connection with the killing of Saipov are untrue.

Sharakhmatullaev was allegedly named by Abdufarid Rasulov, who has been sentenced in Kyrgyzstan for his role in Saipov's murder.

In February, Kyrgyz police detained Rasulov in Kyrgyzstan's Batken region for drug trafficking and discovered a pistol without a serial number that was shown to be the weapon used to shoot Saipov.

Rasulov said the pistol was given to him in December by Sharakhmatullaev.

Saipov, 26, an ethnic Uzbek and editor in chief of the Osh-based newspaper "Siyosat" ("Politics"), was shot dead as he left his office in central Osh on October 24, 2007.

Saipov had also worked as a correspondent for RFE/RL and the Voice of America.

His relatives and colleagues said he may have been killed by Uzbek secret services in retaliation for his critical articles about Uzbek President Islam Karimov and his government.