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Alisher Saipov's Case is Reopened

One of the Kyrgyz protesters -- human rights activists and journalists -- who demanded justice be brought in the case of murdered journalist Alisher Saipov, in Bishkek on October 26, 2007.
RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports that Kyrgyz authorities have found new evidence relating to the 2007 killing of Alisher Saipov, prompting them to overturn a previous murder conviction and reopen the case.

Investigators reportedly have found a video of a wedding that took place at the time of the murder that shows the man who was convicted of the crime in attendance. The convict was a drug-trafficker whose relation to the murder was viewed as dubious by many. He has been serving a prison sentence since being found guilty, but the video seems to show that he couldn't have been at the scene of the crime.

Saipov, an ethnic Uzbek, was gunned down in September 2007 in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh.

Much to the pique of governments in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, Saipov wrote about Islamic groupings and opposition politics in the region, and reported on the 2005 massacre of protesters in the Uzbek city of Andijon.

He was accused by former Kyrgyz authorities of having ties to terrorist groups and crimes. He was also the target of a smear campaign broadcast in Uzbekistan on state-run television, and told friends shortly before his murder that he had been followed by Uzbek government agents. His colleagues believe that Uzbek security agents killed him in retaliation for his reporting, and have criticized Kyrgyz authorities for failing to conduct a credible investigation into the case.

Saipov reported for RFE/RL's Uzbek Service and the Voice of America, and was the founder and editor of "Siyosat," a newspaper of independent political analysis and commentary.

RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports that Kyrgyz law enforcement authorities are reviewing several other murder cases involving journalists and politicians.