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Slain Kyrgyz Journalist Told He Was On 'Black List'

Gennady Pavlyuk (undated)
ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- The wife of slain independent Kyrgyz journalist Gennady Pavlyuk says he was told his name was on a "black list," RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Yelena Pavlyuk was testifying on June 8 at the trial of two Kazakh citizens and a Kyrgyz national who is an ex-security service agent, who are accused of killing her husband in the Kazakh city of Almaty.

The trial began on June 6. The three defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Pavlyuk, 51, was thrown from the sixth floor of an Almaty building on December 16, 2009, with his arms and legs bound. He died in a hospital six days later.

At the hearing, Pavlyuk said her husband was one of the most successful journalists in Kyrgyzstan until 2005, when Kurmanbek Bakiev became president.

But Pavlyuk said her husband "started having problems" under Bakiev. She said that on August 8, 2009, her husband came home very frustrated.

"He told me that there was some kind of a state board that monitors the activities of media outlets, and some people close to that board had warned him that he was included on some kind of 'black list,'" she said.

Pavlyuk added that her husband told her he had been informed by people close to the Kyrgyz government that Maksim Bakiev, the son of President Bakiev, said publicly that he did not want "to see or hear Gennady Pavlyuk."

Pavlyuk said the last time she saw her husband was on December 14, 2009, before he left for Almaty. "He looked very troubled and very concerned, but he did not say anything about his problems," she said.

Pavlyuk's relatives and colleagues in Kyrgyzstan say his murder was politically motivated. But Kazakh investigators claim the killing was an ordinary crime and had nothing to do with politics.

Kazakh authorities have also not allowed Kyrgyz law enforcement officials to be involved in the investigation into Pavlyuk's killing.

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

Read more in Russian here