Europe & Central Asia


Alerts   |   Russia

Court rejects journalist's appeal for travel passport

New York, July 24, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is deeply disappointed with today's ruling by Moscow's Lyublinsky District Court to uphold Moscow's Southeastern District Visa and Registration Authorities (OVIR) decision to deny a foreign passport to journalist Grigory Pasko.

Pasko was convicted of treason and sentenced to four years in prison on December 25, 2001, for intending to leak classified information to Japanese news outlets about the Russian Pacific Fleet's dumping of nuclear waste in the Sea of Japan. Pasko was released on parole based on good behavior in January 2003 after having served two-thirds of his sentence.
July 24, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Georgia

Suspect convicted in television journalist's murder

New York, July 11, 2003—A Georgian court sentenced former police officer Grigol Khurtsilava on Wednesday, July 9, to a 13-year prison term for the July 2001 murder of popular television journalist Georgy Sanaya. Sanaya anchored "Night Courier," a nightly political talk show on the independent television station Rustavi 2 in Tbilisi, Georgia's capital.

The journalist was found dead in his Tbilisi apartment on July 26, 2001. He had been shot once in the head at close range with a 9 mm weapon. Khurtsilava, a former police officer, was arrested for the murder in December 2001.
July 11, 2003 12:00 PM ET


Alerts   |   Belarus

Russian TV bureau and U.S.-funded media organizations closed

New York, July 10, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemns the recent closure by the Belarusian authorities of Russian television network NTV's Belarus bureau, as well as the decision to cancel accreditation for the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) and Internews, both U.S. government-funded organizations that provide support to independent media.

On July 7, Belarusian Council of Ministers ordered NTV's bureau closed, according to several CPJ sources. This decision, officially based on the network's alleged repeated violations of Belarus' Media Law, followed the expulsion of NTV's Belarus correspondent Pavel Selin late last month. [For more information, read CPJ's June 30 news alert],

July 10, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Russia

Journalist Grigory Pasko denied travel passport

New York, July 10, 2003—
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is dismayed that Moscow's southeastern district visa and registration authorities (OVIR) have denied a foreign passport to journalist Grigory Pasko, who was released from prison in January after serving more than two years in prison.

Pasko told CPJ in a telephone interview that officials denied his application, which was submitted in March 2003, on Tuesday, July 8, because he was released from prison in January 2003 before serving his entire prison sentence. Pasko and his lawyer maintain that Russian law does not contain such restrictions and have already appealed the decision.
July 10, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Russia

Agence France-Presse reporter abducted

New York, July 7, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is gravely concerned about the safety of Ali Astamirov, a correspondent for Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency, who was abducted on Friday, July 4, by unknown armed assailants in Ingushetia, according to sources in Russia.

Astamirov, who previously worked for Chechnya's Grozny Television and reported on Chechnya and Chechen refugees, was based in Ingushetia's capital, Nazran. The journalist was kidnapped while he and two colleagues, humanitarian worker Ruslan Musayev and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) stringer Aslambek Dadayev, were driving through Nazran and stopped for gas. A white vehicle blocked the car, and armed men, wearing masks and camouflage attire, seized the journalists' cell phones, pulled Astamirov out of the car, and drove off. According to Dadayev's account in the Russian press, the abductors drove off in the direction of Chechnya.
July 7, 2003 12:00 PM ET


Dangerous Assignments   |   Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Italy, Sudan

Eritrea and Ethiopia: War and Words

Two years after the end of a border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea, journalists in both countries are struggling to do their jobs in increasingly repressive environments.
July 2, 2003 8:17 PM ET


Dangerous Assignments   |   Eritrea, Georgia

Petition to Free Eritrean Journalist Fesshaye "Joshua" Yohannes

Fesshaye "Joshua" Yohannes is being held in a secret location in Eritrea
July 2, 2003 8:17 PM ET


Letters   |   Russia

CPJ calls on Putin not to sign legislation

Your Excellency: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an independent, nonpartisan organization dedicated to defending press freedom worldwide, is very concerned about a bill, titled "On Amendments and Addendums Brought into Certain Legislative Acts," that was passed by the lower and upper houses of Russia's parliament on June 18 and June 25, respectively. The bill, which seeks to strengthen state regulation over independent media outlets, particularly their coverage of election campaigns, currently awaits your approval.

July 1, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Czech Republic

Diplomat convicted for conspiring to murder journalist

New York, July 1, 2003--A Czech court yesterday convicted the former general secretary of the Foreign Ministry, Karel Srba, of plotting to murder Sabina Slonkova, an investigative reporter for the independent Prague daily Mlada Fronta Dnes.

According to local and international press reports, a regional court in the southern city of Ceske Budejovice convicted Srba of illegal possession of weapons and conspiring to blow up Slonkova with plastic explosives. Srba was sentenced to eight years in a maximum-security prison, the CTK news agency reported.
July 1, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Belarus

Russian television journalist expelled

New York, June 30, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemns the recent expulsion of Pavel Selin, a correspondent with the Russian television network NTV based in Belarus's capital, Minsk.

On Saturday, June 28, Selin was summon to the Internal Affairs Ministry, where he was told to leave the country within 24 hours, according to Russian and international news reports. The journalist returned to Moscow yesterday.
June 30, 2003 12:00 PM ET


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