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News Agency's Kazakh Offices Searched By Fake Investigators

Sayat Shulembaev
Sayat Shulembaev
ALMATY -- Editors of the Bishkek-based say two people used the murder of their colleague to conduct a search of their office in Almaty, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports. Production Director Baurzhan Musirov and Chief Producer Aleksandr Gabchenko told journalists in Almaty today that two men came to their office on January 18 posing as investigators looking into the murder of Sayat Shulembaev, a correspondent who was killed by unknown attackers on December 25.

The men introduced themselves as police investigators Askar Akhmetov and Arman Baitureyev. They then questioned various employees, with some questions causing Musirov and Gabchenko to become suspicious.

"Many questions had nothing to do with Shulembaev's murder, and that caused concerns," Gabchenko said.

Musirov and Gabchenko were told that the Almaty City Interior Ministry has no investigators with those names and that nobody was sent to to question the staff.

Gabchenko said that when Shulembaev was killed in December neither he nor his colleagues thought the murder was connected with Shulembaev's professional activities. But since the men posing as investigators searched their offices and interrogated the staff, they are beginning to think there might be such a link.