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For Immediate Release
28 March 1996

Amanda Onion
(212) 465-1004 x101

Russian Television Reporter Slain in Tajikistan

29th Journalist Murdered in Four Years

U.S Journalists Call for Immediate Investigation

New York--The Committee to Protect Journalists urged the government of Tajikistan to conduct a prompt and vigorous investigation into today’s murder in Dushanbe of Victor Nikulin, a correspondent for Russian state television (ORT).

More journalists have been killed in Tajikistan in the past four years -- Nikulin’s death today brings the number to 29 -- than in any other republic of the former Soviet bloc, according to figures compiled by CPJ.

At the same time, CPJ faxed a letter to Russian President Boris Yeltsin, requesting that Russian authorities press their counterparts in Tajikistan for an official report about the murder and any subsequent investigations.

“Tajikistan is wholly dependent on Russian economic and military support, and Moscow should send a clear message to Dushanbe that murderous attacks on their correspondents will not be tolerated,” said William A. Orme, Jr., CPJ’s executive director. “We are requesting that the Yeltsin government join us in asking Tajik authorities to guarantee the safety of all correspondents in Tajikistan and to ensure that thorough investigations into these killings proceed immediately.”

Nikulin was shot and killed in his office in Dushanbe this afternoon at 4:20 p.m. News accounts indicate that he was shot twice after answering his office door. Last December the body of Mohyedin Alempour, a correspondent for the BBC’s Persian-language-service, was found with a bullet wound in the head near the state university of Tajikistan. The last killing before Alempour’s took place in November 1994.

Tajik authorities have not solved any of the murders of journalists, and no information on the investigations has been disclosed despite CPJ’s repeated requests. For more information, call CPJ’s office in New York.

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