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Hearings Start In Trial Over Kyrgyz Journalist's Killing

Murdered Kyrgyz journalist Gennady Pavlyuk

Murdered Kyrgyz journalist Gennady Pavlyuk

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Preliminary hearings have begun in Kazakhstan in the trial of three people accused of throwing a journalist to his death from a high-rise building, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Gennady Pavlyuk, an independent journalist from Kyrgyzstan, was thrown from a building in Almaty on December 16, 2009, with his arms and legs bound.

Pavlyuk, 51, died in a hospital six days later.

The defendants are two Kazakh citizens and a Kyrgyz national who used to work as an agent for Kyrgyzstan's security service.

At today's hearing in Almaty, the start of the trial was set for June 6.

Pavlyuk's relatives and colleagues say his murder was politically motivated. But Kazakh investigators claim that the killing was an ordinary crime and had nothing to do with politics.

Pavlyuk was known in Kyrgyzstan under the pseudonym Rustam Ibragimbek. He founded the "White Steamer" newspaper and website. He also wrote for the newspaper "Vecherny Bishkek" (Evening Bishkek) and the Russian weekly "Argumenty i fakty" (Arguments and Facts).

Read more in Kazakh here