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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.
Damir Shaykhetdinov
A Tatar opposition newspaper editor convicted of propagating extremist views has been given an 18-month suspended sentence by a Chally court, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

Damir Shaykhetdinov, the editor in chief of the "Chally Yashlary" newspaper, was found guilty of printing material from the self-proclaimed pan-Tatar National Assembly (TMM).

In an open letter issued in December 2008, the TMM called on the international community to recognize Tatarstan's independence from Russia. The call came just a few months after Russia recognized the independence of the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Shaykhetdinov told RFE/RL that he rejects all the charges against him and will appeal the verdict to Tatarstan's Supreme Court.

TMM's chairwoman, Fauzia Bayramova, is also on trial in a separate case. She is charged with fomenting interethnic hatred in Tatarstan.

Bayramova declared in November that she can no longer live in Russia because of severe persecution from authorities and is seeking to emigrate. She says Tatar officials are helping Russian Federal authorities "persecute Tatar patriots in the republic."

Tatarstan's Justice Ministry ruled in November that the activities of the TMM, which was established by Tatar nationalists in 1992, should be suspended for four months.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court in Kazan denied an appeal by Irek Murtazin, a blogger and former press secretary of Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiyev who was sentenced to 21 months in prison for libeling his former boss and "instigating hatred and hostility" toward a social group.

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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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