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Kyrgyz Convicted Of Journalist's Murder Plans Hunger Strike

Aldayar Ismankulov
ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- A former Kyrgyz security officer convicted of murdering an independent journalist says he will go on a hunger strike in a Kazakh jail to protest his sentence, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

An Almaty court found Aldayar Ismankulov guilty last month of the murder of journalist Gennady Pavlyuk and sentenced him to 17 years in jail.

Pavlyuk, 51, died after being thrown from the sixth floor of a high-rise building in Almaty in December 2009 with his arms and legs bound.

Ismankulov's two co-defendants -- Kazakhs Shalqar Orazalin and Almas Igilikov -- were sentenced to 11 and 10 years in jail, respectively, for their roles in the murder.

Ismankulov's lawyer, Svetlana Murzina, told journalists in Almaty today that her client will start a hunger strike soon to protest his sentence.

Murzina said Ismankulov considers his sentence unjust, as "his involvement in the murder has never been proven in the courtroom, and none of the evidence proving his innocence was taken into consideration."

Ismankulov wrote in a statement sent to his lawyer via his father that "the judge who tried me and Almaty City Interior Affairs Department officials should be held responsible in the event of my death as a result of my hunger strike."

One of Ismankulov's co-defendants, Orazalin, has sewn his mouth shut in protest at his conviction.

Read more in Kazakh here