Kyrgyz journalist Gennady Pavlyuk, who used the penname
Ibragim Rustambek, died in a hospital in
after falling from an upper-story window of an apartment building in the city
six days earlier.
Pavlyuk, 40, described by colleagues as one of
most prominent journalists, had traveled to Almaty on business, the purpose of
which was not immediately clear. Some local news reports said Pavlyuk intended
to start a pro-opposition online publication and had traveled to Almaty to meet
with potential partners. Other reports said Pavlyuk was on a reporting trip to
investigate a car-theft ring.
Pavlyuk, an ethnic Russian, had headed the Kyrgyz bureaus of
the Russian newspapers Argumenty i Fakty
and Komsomolskaya Pravda before
becoming editor-in-chief of the independent Kyrgyz newspaper Bely Parokhod. The publication was known
for its examination of high-level corruption and its critical coverage of President
Kurmanbek Bakiyev, said
head of the Kyrgyz press freedom group, Public Association Journalists. In recent
months, however, Pavlyuk had focused his efforts on the launch of his own
publication, CPJ sources said.
Pavlyuk was found unconscious on the evening of December 16,
sprawled on the overhang of an Almaty apartment building entrance, his hands
and legs bound with tape, the Kazakhstan Interior Ministry said. It was not
immediately clear why Pavlyuk had gone to the building or whom he had met
there. A police search of a sixth-floor apartment found a roll of tape,
Pavlyuk’s jacket, a key for an Almaty hotel room that he had checked into
earlier that day, and an empty laptop bag, the ministry said.
A security camera at the Almaty hotel captured images
of Pavlyuk leaving with an unidentified man earlier that day, the Kyrgyz news
agency AKIpress said. The windows in the apartment from which Pavlyuk
apparently fell were not broken, AKIpress said. Pavlyuk suffered multiple
injuries caused by the fall, according to doctors with Almaty’s central city
hospital. He died at around 6 a.m. on December 22, never having regained
consciousness, the independent Kazakh newspaper Respublika reported.
In November 2010, Kazakh prosecutors announced they had detained
a former Kyrgyz security service agent Aldayar Ismankulov, whom they indicted
on separate counts of abduction, extortion, and murder, the Russian service of the
U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported. Authorities
also arrested two suspected accomplices, Kazakh nationals Almaz Igilikov and
Shlakar Urazalin. Investigators did not name a mastermind.
On October 11, an Almaty court found the defendants guilty
in Pavlyuk’s murder and sentenced them to lengthy prison terms, regional
and international press
reported. Ismankulov was convicted in the killing and sentenced to 17 years in prison;
Urazalin and Igilikov received 11 and 10 year prison terms respectively for
their roles, the independent regional website Fergana
reported. The court found that Pavlyuk’s journalism was the motive,
but it did not specify the details or name a mastermind.