New York, August 19, 2002—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is deeply concerned by the recent attack on Artur Platonov in Almaty, a city in southern Kazakhstan. Platonov is a well-known host of the weekly television program “Portrait of the Week” on the private station KTK.
Three assailants brutally assaulted Platonov as he was driving home on the evening of Friday, August 16, according to Kazakh and international reports. The journalist was hospitalized with a broken nose and contusions as a result of the incident.
The suspected attackers, identified as three former police officers, were detained and questioned the night of the attack but were later released.
The journalist’s colleagues believe that the attack is connected to Platonov’s work. “Portrait of the Week” is often critical of Kazakh police and government authorities, and Platonov has received numerous threats in the past.
The suspects maintain, however, that Platonov’s reckless driving and aggressive behavior, such as the use of a mace—like spray, provoked the incident. The journalist claims that he used the spray in self-defense.
Police in Almaty are conducting a criminal investigation into the attack.