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Cameraman Bakhadir Kenzhebayev beaten by unidentified attacker

(PAJ/IFEX) - The following is a statement by the Public Association "Journalists" (PAJ), an interim member of IFEX:

Cameraman Bakhadir Kenzhebayev beaten in Osh

An unidentified person attacked Osh TV and Radio Company senior cameraman Bakhadir Kenzhebayev on 7 March 2009, in Osh, the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan, located in the Fergana Valley in the south of the country. Kenzhebayev, who received a concussion and numerous wounds on the face, was sent to the resuscitation department at Osh City Hospital.

Bakhadir Kenzhebayev is known for filming scandalous stories. Prior to the attack, the cameraman filmed a raid by local police.

Bakhadir Kenzhebayev was attacked at a street intersection where local prostitutes do their business. The Osh TV and Radio Company Executive Director Khayrullo Khudayberdiev believes that the cameraman was attacked because of his work. Bakhadir Kenzhebayev filmed the detention of prostitutes during a police raid and the story was broadcast on Osh TV. The Osh TV and Radio Company Executive Director believes that the filming of this type of activity might be the reason behind the attack on the cameraman because criminals involved in the activities could decide to take revenge.

The Osh TV and Radio Company staff made a statement, addressing it to the chief of the Osh Department of Internal Affairs. Osh journalists are upset over the incident and stated that they see the beating of their colleague as directly linked to his professional work. The journalists consider the beating as an attempt to threaten mass media staff and violate freedom of speech.

The cameraman is still at the Osh City Hospital. The case is being investigated and the police officers have promised to find those responsible for the attack.

The Public Association "Journalists" (PAJ) considers the attack to be part of a series of crimes against journalists in Kyrgyzstan and is determined to put an end to the impunity surrounding such crimes. The PAJ notes that only in a small numbers of these crimes have the perpetrators been punished.

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