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Kyrgyz Opposition Leader Claims Government Ordered Journalist's Death

Gennady Pavlyuk was working closely with a leading Kyrgyz opposition party before his death.
Gennady Pavlyuk was working closely with a leading Kyrgyz opposition party before his death.
The leading voice of Kyrgyzstan's opposition has alleged government involvement in a recent journalist's murder and claimed correspondence in the hands of investigators sheds light on the motive, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Journalist Gennady Pavlyuk, 51, died on December 22 of injuries suffered six days earlier when he was thrown from a building in Almaty, in neighboring Kazakhstan, with his hands and feet bound.

The leader of Kyrgyz opposition Ata-Meken (Fatherland) party, Omurbek Tekebaev, told RFE/RL that he gave Kazakh investigators e-mails between himself and Pavlyuk that help explain why the current Kyrgyz government wanted Pavlyuk dead.

Tekebaev said it is evident from the correspondence that Pavlyuk -- who was working on the creation of a website and a newspaper for Ata-Meken -- supported opposition parties and worked hard to change Kyrgyzstan's political leadership.

Tekebaev said the messages reflect the slain journalist's views of the Kyrgyz government along with his civic values and ideals, and added that the e-mails should be a source of pride to Pavlyuk's family and friends.

Tekebaev said Pavlyuk had recently been forging the information and ideological policies of Ata-Meken.

He said those who allegedly ordered Pavlyuk's death were motivated by the knowledge that it would be hard for the opposition to find anyone who could complete his projects.

Tekebaev said Pavlyuk's death should be seen as a warning not only to Ata-Meken but also to all opposition activists, rights defenders, and independent journalists in Kyrgyzstan.

Pavlyuk was the founder of the "White Steamer" newspaper and website and had worked for the newspaper "Vecherny Bishkek" (Evening Bishkek) and the Russian weekly "Argumenty i fakty."

Kazakh media quoted police sources in that country saying over the weekend that there were indications that Kyrgyz secret service officers may have been involved in Pavlyuk's murder.

Kyrgyz intelligence officials countered that Kazakh media were disseminating lies.

The Kyrgyz opposition has called Pavlyuk's death an attack on press freedom and alleged it was part of the government's campaign to silence dissent.

The killing was sharply condemned by international human rights organizations, including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and Reporters Without Borders.