Pro-opposition editor beaten in Kyrgyzstan

New York, June 10, 2009–Following an attack on Friday on the deputy editor of the pro-opposition Kyrgyz-language biweekly Achyk Sayasat (Open Politics), the Committee to Protect Journalists called today on Kyrgyz authorities to ensure that their investigation is prompt and thorough. 

Four unidentified men severely beat Abduvahab Moniyev in the center of the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, at around 9:30 p.m., regional news Web site Ferghana reported. They did not take any of his belongings. Moniyev was hospitalized same day with a concussion. Bishkek police opened an investigation, local press reported.

According to Reuters, Moniyev contributed to Achyk Sayasat‘s political column, in which he had recently criticized local politicians ahead of a July 23 presidential election. He wrote under pseudonym.

“We condemn this brutal assault on Abduvahab Moniyev. He is the third critical reporter attacked in the last few months in Bishkek,” said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. “The authorities must send a clear message by prosecuting those behind all these assaults.”

According to the Bishkek-based news agency Aki-Press, Moniyev could not say whether he was targeted for his journalism. His colleagues said they believe the attack is work-related. Ryskeldy Mombekov, Achyk Sayasat‘s deputy editor, told the local media that several young men had visited the newsroom looking for Moniyev a few days before the attack. An unidentified man called Moniyev Friday and invited to come for a meeting in the center of Bishkek, promising to share sensitive information, Ferghana reported. He was attacked at the meeting spot.

In May, three men who identified themselves as plainclothes policemen assaulted Yrysbek Omurzakov, editor of the independent newspaper Tribuna, he told CPJ. The attack took place on a busy intersection in Bishek, in front of numerous witnesses and a traffic police officer, who did not intervene, he said. In March, unidentified assailants stabbed Syrgak Abdyldayev, a political reporter and commentator with the independent newspaper Reporter-Bishkek. The journalist was hospitalized with a dozen stabbed wounds, a broken arm, and a concussion. No progress has been reported in these attacks.