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Mourners at the funeral in December 2009 of slain Kyrgyz opposition journalist Gennady Pavlyuk
BISHKEK -- Kazakh police say an investigation into the killing of Kyrgyz journalist Gennady Pavlyuk in 2009 does not indicate it was politically motivated, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Pavlyuk, 51, was thrown with his arms and legs bound from a high-rise building in Almaty on December 16, 2009. He died in a hospital six days later.

Kazakh police said the investigation showed that the people who killed Pavlyuk were trying to get him to tell them the combination to a safe that held valuable gems.

Akhmat Alagushev, a lawyer who represents Pavlyuk's wife, confirmed to RFE/RL after seeing the results of the investigation that the findings do not indicate that Pavlyuk's murder was political.

Many of Pavlyuk's friends and relatives have dismissed the findings by Kazakh police and are unhappy that Kyrgyz officials are not investigating his murder, which they believe was ordered and planned in Kyrgyzstan.

Before traveling to Almaty, Pavlyuk had met with friend and political ally Omurbek Tekebaev, chairman of the Ata-Meken party, which was in fierce opposition to the Kyrgyz president at the time, Kurmanbek Bakiev.

Tekebaev told RFE/RL that Pavlyuk's murder was "for political reasons, it is absolutely clear to everyone."

He said he doubts that the Kyrgyz Security Service has cooperated closely with its Kazakh colleagues.

"Pavlyuk had been watched [by the Kyrgyz Security Service] and [his phone] tapped; even his visit to Almaty was controlled by the Kyrgyz Security Service," Tekebaev said. "Certainly the accused guys are not going to admit that they performed a political order [from Bakiev in murdering Pavlyuk]."

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

Pavlyuk's friends, colleagues, and relatives say he was killed for his professional activities and his plans to set up an opposition website.

The Kazakh authorities announced in December 2010 -- one year after Pavlyuk's murder -- the arrest in Almaty of Kyrgyz citizen Aldayar Ismankulov as a suspect in the killing.

Read more in Kyrgyz here
KGB headquarters in Minsk
The leader of a Belarusian nongovernmental organization says KGB officials have been pressuring him to collaborate with the security service, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Mikalay Kvantaliani, the head of Minsk's Center for the Development of Volunteerism, wrote in a letter made public today that after applying on February 22 to register his NGO, a man who identified himself as Vital Mikalayevich from the KGB called him on March 5 and they met on March 16.

Kvantaliani said Mikalayevich told him his NGO would be officially registered only if he agreed to "collaborate with the KGB."

Kvantaliani wrote in his letter that the KGB officer told him many Belarusian organizations work with the KGB and in return receive many kinds of support, including financial.

The officer also warned, Kvantaliani wrote, that in the event Kvantaliani "refused to collaborate," he and his colleagues would be put on a "blacklist" and would not be able to register any organization or business.

Mikalayevich added that they would also be prevented from traveling abroad.

Kvantaliani wrote that after discussing the situation with his colleagues, the decision was made not to collaborate with the KGB and to give up trying to register their NGO.

The Justice Ministry is expected to soon decide whether to register Kvantaliani's NGO.

Kvantaliani added that after he started avoiding the man who called himself Mikalayevich, he got an SMS from Mikalayevich on March 19 that read: "I will come and search your home."

Kvantaliani wrote in his open letter that he then decided to make the entire story public.

Read more in Belarusian here

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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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