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Three Appeal Convictions In Kyrgyz Journalist Slaying

Journalist Gennady Pavlyuk

Journalist Gennady Pavlyuk

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Hearings have begun in Almaty in the appeal filed by three men convicted of killing Kyrgyz journalist Gennady Pavlyuk, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

In October, former Kyrgyz security service officer Aldayar Ismankulov was sentenced to 17 years in jail while Kazakh citizens Almas Igilikov and Shalqar Orazalin were sentenced to 10 and 11 years, respectively.

Pavlyuk died several days after being thrown from a tall building in Almaty in December 2009 with his arms and legs bound.

Ismankulov, Orazalin, and Igilikov were not present at the hearings, which were attended by the three men's relatives and lawyers. Pavlyuk's relatives and lawyers were also absent.

Igilikov's lawyer, Beisenali Orazov, said in court that his client is currently in an Almaty detention center's medical ward being treated for psychological problems. He asked Judge Kuplash Otemisova to order an additional examination of Igilikov to determine his mental state.

But the judge rejected the request saying "there is no ground to question the results of the previous medical examinations."

Orazalin's lawyer, Aigul Erbolekova, asked that journalists be allowed to record the process and take pictures in the the courtroom. Otemisova said she allowed journalists to be present at the hearings but cannot allow videoing or taking pictures in the courtroom as "the case is very serious and complicated."

The judge agreed to allow the three convicted men to be present at the next hearing and adjourned the process until January 25.

Pavlyuk, an ethnic Russian, was known in Kyrgyzstan under the pseudonym Rustam Ibragimbek.

Pavlyuk, 51, 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).

Pavlyuk's relatives and colleagues in Kyrgyzstan have alleged that his murder was politically motivated as he was working with the opposition against then-President Kurmanbek Bakiev and his government. He had also received death threats in the period before he was killed.

Read more in Kazakh here