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Journalist who covered Kyrgyrz president's decision to close US airbase stabbed in Bishkek

Journalist who covered decision to close US airbase stabbed in Bishkek
Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev listens to discussion over the fate of the US airbase in Manas, on February 19, in Bishkek. As President Bakiyev moves to close the airbase, Kyrgyzstan's political and financial problems are echoed across this region.Photo: Agence France-Presse (AFP) / Vyacheslav Oseledko

An unidentified attacker stabbed a reporter outside his newsroom in Kyrgyzstan's capital, Bishkek, Tuesday, according to the regional news site Ferghana.

Syrgak Abdyldayev, a political reporter and commentator with the independent newspaper Reporter-Bishkek, was attacked at around 7 p.m., Ferghana reported. Abdyldayev, 47, is currently hospitalised with 12 stab wounds and a broken arm, Reporter-Bishkek founder Sultan Kanazarov told the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

In his recent articles, Abdyldayev criticised the Kyrgyz government's poor economic policies and covered President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's decision to close a US airbase in the country. Kanazarov said he believes the reporter was attacked because of his work, but that he had not received any threats previously.

"We condemn this vicious attack on Syrgak Abdyldayev and call on Kyrgyz authorities to investigate it thoroughly and effectively," said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Programme Coordinator Nina Ognianova. "Kyrgyzstan must not allow impunity in attacks on reporters to chill the media."

According to Ferghana, at least one unidentified attacker was waiting for Abdyldayev in a car outside the newspaper's premises; as the journalist was leaving his office for the day, the assailant approached him, broke his arm, and stabbed him multiple times. Kanazarov told CPJ that his colleague was taken to the emergency room, where he remains in a serious condition.

Kanazarov said that none of Abdyldayev's belongings, including his wallet and cellphone, were taken. Bishkek police have not yet opened a criminal investigation, he said, because doctors have not allowed the police to speak with the journalist.

Date posted: March 4, 2009 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 236