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Journalist killed in Makhachkala

(GDF/IFEX) - Magomedvagif (Sultan) Sultanmagomedov, editor-in-chief of Makhachkala-TV and formerly with the Islamic Education Division of Dagestan's Religious Board of Muslims, was killed in Makhachkala on August 11, 2010.

His car came under submachine-gun fire by unidentified persons at the crossroads of Shamil and Akushinsky Avenues, according to Radio Liberty. He was taken to a hospital, where he died of his gunshot wounds. The attackers escaped in a black Vaz-21014 car.

This was not the first attempt on Sultanmagomedov's life. On November 18, 2008, a bomb planted at the corner of Kazbekov Street and Akushinsky Avenue was set off as he drove by, leaving holes in his car. The driver and passengers received bruises and light injuries and were discharged from the hospital later that day.

Sultanmagomedov took over as Makhachkala-TV editor after his predecessor, Abdullah Alishayev, was shot and killed on September 2, 2008. Both were ideological opponents of Wahabiism. The police have launched an investigation on charges of attempted murder and illegal storing of ammunition and explosives, but no progress has so far been reported.

Over the past few months, Dagestan has become Russia's most dangerous place for journalists to report from. Shamil Aliyev, the founder and head of the radio stations Priboy and Vatan and the TNT-Makhachkala television network, and his bodyguard Saidmagomed Ubaidullayev, were shot and killed in May 2010 by unknown criminals who fled the scene of the crime. A few days later, Sayid Ibragimov, director of local television channel TBS, was killed in the Sergokalinsky District. Before that, in August 2009, Malik Akhmedilov, a correspondent for the republican newspaper "Khakiqat" (Truth), was murdered in Makhachkala, and crews of reporters for REN-TV and TV-Makhachkala were attacked by unknown persons in Derbent in October 2009. Still earlier, in February 2008, Zaur Gaziyev, an observer for the weekly "Svobodnaya Respublika", and TV host Ruslan Gabibulayev were beaten up in Makhachkala; in March, Dagestan TV/Radio Company president Gadzhi Abashilov was killed; and in November, Gadzhimurad Sagitov, deputy editor of the independent newspaper "Novoye Delo", was beaten up. Since then, only the Abashilov case has gone all the way to court, only to be sent back for additional investigation.