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Rights Groups Call For Justice For Slain Kyrgyz Journalist

Alisher Saipov on October 24, the day he was killed (RFE/RL) October 27, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the Kyrgyz government to ensure a thorough and impartial investigation into the murder of independent journalist Alisher Saipov.

Saipov, 26, was shot dead by an unidentified gunman on October 24 in the Kyrgyz city of Osh.

Holly Cartner, HRW's director for Europe and Central Asia, described the killing as a "brutal crime" that suggests retribution for Saipov's work. She described him as a "courageous journalist" committed to exposing human rights abuses, particularly by the Uzbek government.

Miklos Haraszti, media freedom envoy with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), also voiced shock at Saipov's murder. Haraszti called on Kyrgyz authorities to investigate the case in a "vigorous and transparent manner."

In Bishkek, Marat Tokoev, the head of the nongovernmental organization Journalist, has told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service that "there have been several cases of journalists being beaten" in Kyrgyzstan, but "not a single investigation has been concluded. No one has been found guilty" of any of the attacks.