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Journalist assaulted in Kulyab

(GDF/IFEX) - Abdumumin Sherkhonov, the editor-in-chief of the "Pazhvok" (Echo) newspaper and a freelance reporter for "Radio Ozodi" (Tajik Service of Radio Liberty), was beaten up in the city of Kulyab, southern Tajikistan, on 5 January 2009.

According to Sherkhonov, he was stopped by two young men when he was on his way to the newspaper's office. One of them, who identified himself as an Interior Ministry officer and showed his ID, threatened to arrest the journalist. When Sherkhonov refused to talk to the men, they proceeded to assault him until a passer-by intervened.

Sherkhonov links the attack to his professional activities.

According to the "Asia-Plus" newspaper, one of the attackers is a student in the Russian Language and Russian Literature Department at Kulyab State University. He has been detained by the police and recognised by the victim. The law enforcement officers said they also know the identity of the second attacker.

"Pazhvok" is widely known to have published many critical articles affecting the interests of the authorities. The latest issue, for example, carried a story about the authorities' inaction following a complaint from Kulyab University students living in a hostel.

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