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Journalist hurled out six-story window

A prominent Kyrgyz journalist highly critical of the government died on 22 December, days after being thrown out the sixth-story window of an apartment building in Kazakhstan, report the International Press Institute (IPI) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Gennady Pavlyuk, 40, was visiting Kazakhstan's economic capital, Almaty, report IPI and CPJ. Some local reports say Pavlyuk was planning on starting a pro-opposition online newspaper and was meeting with potential Kazakh partners, while other reports say he was investigating a crime story.

Pavlyuk was found on 16 December unconscious with his hands and legs tied with tape; he suffered multiple injuries because of the fall, report CPJ and IPI.

Pavlyuk started a newspaper known for its investigations of high-level corruption and criticism of the policies of Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's government, "Bely Parokhod", reports CPJ. He is more well-known by his pen name, Ibragim Rustambek.

News reports say Pavlyuk had become politically active in the past year and worked with a Kyrgyz opposition leader, Omurbek Tekebayev. Tekebayev told "The New York Times" he believes Kyrgyz security services lured Pavlyuk to a meeting in a neighbouring country with a plan to murder him. "We believe that this was a political killing directed at intimidating the news media," he said. "It is an attempt at frightening society." Opposition critics in Kyrgyzstan blame President Bakiyev for the killing, saying he is increasing his efforts to silence dissent, say news reports.

In recent years, several journalists and opposition critics have been attacked, report IPI and CPJ. Another Kyrgyz journalist of Russian origin, also critical of the state, was assaulted in December 2009, says IPI. CPJ reports that in the same month a newspaper received a bullet in an envelope with a threatening note; and other journalists and political analysts received letters telling them to stop reporting and leave Kyrgyzstan.

The 2007 murder of prominent Uzbek journalist Alisher Saipov in Kyrgyzstan remains unsolved, report CPJ and IPI. Saipov was shot to death while waiting for a taxi.

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