Trial begins of Kazakh journalist recently stabbed and shot


Lukpan Akhmedyarov speaks at a protest rally in Oral last month.

A Kazakh journalist who sustained serious injuries in a recent assault went on trial in absentia on April 27 in a libel case. 

Lukpan Akhmedyarov, a correspondent for the "Uralskaya nedelya" weekly in the western city of Oral, was stabbed and shot with a pneumatic pistol on April 19.

He received a subpoena to attend the trial from hospital but was unable to do so due to his health condition.

A top official in the West Kazakhstan Oblast, Tilekqabyl Imashev, has filed a lawsuit against Akhmedyarov. Imashev is demanding financial compensation from the journalist, alleging he “hurt his dignity and honor” in one of his articles.

Akhmedyarov says both the lawsuit and the attack against him are politically motivated.  He had earlier told journalists that the attack must have been ordered by individuals "who did not like my articles." 

The correspondent for the "Uralskaya nedelya" weekly in the western city of Oral, told journalists at his hospital bed on April 24 that the attackers apparently knew the exact time on the evening of April 20 when he usually left his apartment to park his car for the night.

He therefore believes the attack was premeditated and well-organized.
International organizations and rights groups have condemned the attack on Akhmedyarov, who was known for his critical reporting on the Kazakh authorities, and called for a thorough investigation.

On April 23, former U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan William Courtney called for an international investigation into the brutal beating of Akhmedyarov.

"Without doubt, the attackers acted at the behest of someone in power, " said Courtney, who was ambassador in the early 1990s. "Under these circumstances, only an international investigation will be credible, " he told RFE/RL.

Courtney said it would be "very useful" if the United States pushed for an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe investigation.

A correspondent for the "Uralskaya nedelya" weekly in the western city of Oral, Akhmedyarov was stabbed and shot by a pneumatic weapon on April 20.

The paper’s editor in chief, Tamara Eslyamova, told RFE/RL on April 23 that Akhmedyarov had been moved from intensive care to a regular hospital room and was now able to talk.

Akhmedyarov’s colleagues say they believe the attack was connected to his professional activities and criticism of the government.

Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

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