Larra (a pen name for the journalist Igor Kim) had
extensively covered a strike by workers for the national oil producer
KazMunayGas in the southwestern city of
On March 22, about two weeks after Larra began covering the issue, three men approached the journalist near his Aktobe home, called out his name, and said they had “greetings from Zhanaozen,” according to local press freedom groups. The assailants then beat and kicked the journalist, primarily about the head, leaving him with a broken nose and facial bruises in addition to the concussion, said Rozlana Taukina, head of the Almaty-based press freedom group Journalists in Danger. She said Larra reported the assault to police.
“We condemn the brutal attack on our colleague and call on law
enforcement officials in Aktobe to quickly apprehend and prosecute all
responsible,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator
Larra had broken news of the strike on March 7 and continued to report from the scene until the walkout ended on March 19, Taukina told CPJ. Following his first reports, regional authorities harassed and detained journalists with the independent newspaper Golos Respubliki and television channel Stan-TV, who travelled to Zhanaozen to cover the events, the Almaty-based press freedom group Adil Soz.