WELCOME TO IWPR'S REPORTING CENTRAL ASIA, No. 514, November 5, 2007
POLITICS MAY CLOUD TRUTH IN KYRGYZ MURDER INQUIRY As suspicions grow about the
possible involvement of Tashkent in Alisher Saipovs death, there is concern
that a thorough investigation will prove impossible for political reasons. By
Gulnara Mambetalieva in Bishkek
JOURNALISTS MURDER SETS BACK FREE SPEECH IN CENTRAL ASIA The killing of
Alisher Saipov may deter others from reporting on sensitive topics, and some of
his colleagues think that is why he was gunned down. By Taalai Amanov in
TURKMEN POLICE REFORMS INSUFFICIENT Even repeated purges of senior interior
ministry staff will not reduce abuses by an overbearing police force, say
analysts. By IWPR staff in Central Asia in Bishkek
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POLITICS MAY CLOUD TRUTH IN KYRGYZ MURDER INQUIRY
As suspicions grow about the possible involvement of Tashkent in Alisher
Saipovs death, there is concern that a thorough investigation will prove
impossible for political reasons.
By Gulnara Mambetalieva in Bishkek
Despite the high priority given to the investigation into the killing of
leading journalist Alisher Saipov in southern Kyrgyzstan, there are fears that
the investigation will be inconclusive because lines of enquiry leading into
neighbouring Uzbekistan will not be followed up.
A Kyrgyz interior ministry spokesman has suggested one possible lead that the
Uzbek secret police came across the border and assassinated Saipov, who was
shot dead on October 24 in the city of Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan. Many
analysts interviewed by IWPR agree this is a strong possibility, but fear the
police will not be able to take the matter much further both because the Uzbek
authorities will be uncooperative, and because their own government will not
want to strain an already difficult diplomatic relationship.
Saipov worked with Fergana.ru, a major Russian-language website covering
Central Asia, as well as with Radio Liberty and Voice of America. Earlier this
year, he founded a newspaper called Siyosat (Politics) that covered events in
Uzbekistan as well as his native Kyrgyzstan. Siyosat circulated widely in
Uzbekistans Fergana Valley, which adjoins the Osh region.
The authorities in Uzbekistan who heavily censor domestic media - were
clearly annoyed by the emergence of an independent, critical publication which
was all the more accessible to local readers because it was in Uzbek.
The Kyrgyz authorities are taking the murder seriously, and President Kurmanbek
Bakiev will personally oversee the police investigation. We will not allow
criminals to intimidate people by killing journalists, he said. Major-General
Omurbek Suvanaliev, who heads the defence and security affairs department in
the presidential administration, has been dispatched to Osh.
SAIPOV REPORTED THREATS TO HIS LIFE
The Kyrgyz interior ministry says it is looking at a number of possible
motives, and spokesman Bakyt Seitov told the Reuters news agency that the Uzbek
secret service might have been involved.
"One of the versions is the possibility of involvement of Uzbek security
services, because he constantly criticised Karimov's policies and the Uzbek
government in his newspaper," Seitov told the agency, in a report from October
Kyrgyzstans human rights ombudsman, Tursunbay Bakir Uulu, has cited his own
countrys secret service as saying its Uzbek counterparts ordered the
Colleagues and relatives of the late Saipov say he told them on several
occasions that he had been threatened by the Uzbek security service over his
critical reporting of the political system in Uzbekistan.
Just two days before he was shot dead, Alisher Saipov told his friends that he
thought he was being followed by Uzbek security services. But he always said he
believed he would be safe on the Kyrgyz side of the border, the BBCs Central
Asia correspondent Natalia Antelava wrote in a dispatch.
They wanted to kill Saipov long ago. He was a serious obstacle to the regime
in Uzbekistan, said Hulkar Isamova, an Osh journalist who produces the
Rezonans programme on the local Mezon television station. But this killing by
the Uzbek intelligence services was also a deterrent for other journalists.
Edil Baisalov, a leading Kyrgyz politician, agrees that apart from eliminating
Saipov, the intention was to intimidate other journalists, especially in and
Now that Saipov has been killed, there is one less source of accurate
information from Central Asia, he said. This killing is not simply
retribution for his journalistic activity, it is a warning to others. The
bloodthirsty, dictatorial regime is saying, We have a long reach.
The implications of Saipovs death on other journalists in the region is
examined in Journalists Murder Sets Back Free Speech in Central Asia (RCA
No. 513, 02-Nov-07 http://www.iwpr.net/?p=rca&s=f&o=340323&apc_state=henh).
WILL TASHKENT CONNECTION BE INVESTIGATED?
Having stated that the Uzbek security service is a possible culprit, Kyrgyz
police investigators might now be expected to pursue this line of enquiry
forcefully in Tashkent. However, few analysts in Kyrgyzstan believe this will
One can say there is an Uzbek lead in Alisher Saipovs murder, said Ilim
Karypbekov, director of the Media Representative Institute, a non-government
watchdog organisation. I do not believe a comprehensive and objective
investigation will be carried out, and there are several factors that point in
A thorough investigation would require the Kyrgyz authorities to gain access to
Uzbekistan and ask some difficult questions. Karypbekov doubt that the Kyrgyz
will have the political will to pin a murder charge on the security service of
a powerful neighbour on which it is economically dependent.
Kyrgyz-Uzbek relations have been fraught over many years. Tashkent has regarded
Kyrgyzstans relatively liberal political, media and civil-society environment
as a threat to its own authoritarian system, and at moments of tension has
expressed its hostility by cutting crucial gas supplied to its smaller
Tashkent was particularly concerned by the Kyrgyz revolution of March 2005, in
which President Askar Akaev was ousted by opposition forces including the
current head of state, Bakiev. Violence in the Fergana Valley city of Andijan
in May that year, in which the Uzbek security forces shot into a crowd of
demonstrators, killing hundreds, will only have reinforced Tashkents suspicion
of popular movements that express themselves in mass protests.
PAST RECORD OF COVERT RAIDS INTO SOUTH KYRGYZSTAN
When hundreds of Uzbek refugees fled from Andijan across the border into
Kyrgyzstan, Bakiev then still only acting head of state - had to tread a
careful line between his governments international human rights obligations
and Tashkents demand that he should not shelter people it regarded as
ringleaders of the revolt.
Although some of the refugees were allowed to leave for third countries, there
is evidence that the Bakiev administration quietly gave its assent for
Uzbekistans National Security Service, SNB, to send officers into southern
Kyrgyzstan to abduct individuals. (See Andijan Refugees Sent Back to
Uzbekistan. RCA No. 462, 26-Aug-06
Its incontrovertible that the Uzbek secret service carries out certain
activities in Kyrgyzstan, and that these activities go beyond the limits of the
interdepartmental agreements between the two countries, said Karypbekov.
Kadyr Malikov, an academic from Kyrgyzstan who is currently professor of
political sciences and Islamic studies at Madrid University, says there have
been a number of cases where the SNB has conducted raids in Kyrgyzstan
sometimes with the covert agreement of the authorities there, sometimes without
Malikov recalled one particularly notorious incident in August 2006 - the
killing of prominent Islamic cleric Mohammadrafiq Kamalov, also known as Rafiq
Qori Kamoliddin. Kamolov was shot dead with two other men in what Kyrgyz
security sources said was a counter-terrorism operation conducted jointly with
their Uzbek counterparts.
Baisalov says such incidents establish an unfortunate precedent for Uzbek
security officers to operate with impunity on Kyrgyz territory.
Dozens of people been abducted from our territory, including Kyrgyz nationals.
And every time it happens, Kyrgyzstan creates a precedent for foreign citizens
and their secret service to operate with a free hand, he said.
There is no suggestion that if the SNB is responsible for Saipovs death, the
Kyrgyz security services were complicit. But indications that they have worked
together or liaised on previous operations will add to the difficulties of
investigating the murder in an unbiased manner.
INVESTIGATORS TALK UP SAIPOVS OTHER CONTACTS
Baisalov, like many of the analysts interviewed for this report, is alarmed at
what looks like a concerted attempt to smear the late Saipovs reputation in an
attempt to explain away his death and deflect attention from politically
problematic lines of enquiry.
The reaction of our law-enforcement agencies indicates that they are trying to
shift the blame onto some kind of extremist connections, he said.
An October 31 statement from the Kyrgyz interior ministry hinted that Saipov
had got too close to radical Islamic groups and the Uzbek opposition-in-exile,
and did not refer to other possible culprits. The statement, which listed
evidence of Saipovs journalistic contacts found when police searched his
office, read almost as though he himself were a crime suspect.
The statement said Saipov had been in contact with leaders of the Islamic
Movement of Uzbekistan, IMU, in Iran. It said he was reported to have met IMU
leader Tahir Yuldashev in April or May 2007 and that he regularly received
payments from him.
The IMU is a guerrilla group that mounted a series of armed raids into Uzbek
and Kyrgyz territory between 1999 and 2001. It retreated south with its Taleban
allies after the United-States-led Coalition entered Afghanistan in late 2001,
and is now believed to be hiding out in Pakistans North-West Frontier
Province, NWFP. In earlier years, Yuldashev spent time in Iran, but he is
thought to have been in NWFP, specifically in Waziristan, since 2001.
The interior ministry statement also cited allegations that Saipov was in
contact with Hizb-ut-Tahrir, another Islamic group outlawed in Kyrgyzstan, as
well as with Muhammed Salih, the leader of the Uzbek opposition party Erk, who
lives in emigration in Europe. Erk leaflets and publications were found in
Saipovs office, the statement said.
The statement did not offer a possible motive for either Islamists or the
opposition to carry out the murder, but said police had identified suspects who
were now on the wanted list.
Finally, the interior ministry highlighted the fact that the Siyosat newspaper
had received grant funding from the United States National Endowment for
Democracy. This does not in fact mark Saipovs paper out many non-government
organisations, NGOs, in Kyrgyzstan are donor-funded.
It is unclear why these lines of enquiry are being pursued, but they sound
uncomfortably close to the kind of black propaganda the Uzbek state media were
putting out about Saipov before his death.
The state-controlled media in Uzbekistan have remained largely silent on
Saipovs death. On November 11, however, the smear campaign resumed when
Press-uz.info news agency carried a statement signed in the name of Andijan
journalists by Hamidjon Numanov and Nazirjon Saidov, identified as the head
and a member, respectively, of the provincial branch of the Union of
Journalists of Uzbekistan. Saipov fulfilled the orders given by his foreign
sponsors 100 per cent.
Saipov may, because he was young, have become a plaything in the hands of
western secret services, it said.
The Uzbek leadership was closely aligned with western governments when the war
on terror began in 2001, providing the United States with the use of an
airbase for military flights into Afghanistan. That all changed after Andijan,
when international calls for an independent investigation led Tashkent to close
the US base and turn its face towards Moscow. It began accusing western spies
working with Islamic militants of organising the Andijan violence, and pushed
western NGOs and media outlets out of the country, suggesting that many were
merely proxies for the subversive activities of their governments.
The Andijan journalists statement contained a number of contradictions,
praising Saipov as well as damning him, and talking of complete freedom of
speech enjoyed by Kyrgyzstans journalists, a luxury which appeared to be
marred only by the inability of their passive police force to protect them.
RFE/RL reports that a regional TV station in Uzbekistan showed a programme on
October 29 with similar content, alleging that Saipov worked for "evil forces"
and was "controlled from abroad.
TOUGH CALL FOR BAKIEV
Having assumed oversight of the murder investigation, President Bakiev finds
himself in a difficult position. International and domestic pressure for a
proper investigation that bears conclusive results may be hard to square with
the realpolitik of living next door to Uzbekistan. The temptation may be to
drag out the investigation.
Its unlikely that the Kyrgyz authorities will be able to present Uzbekistan
openly with any allegations, said Malikov.
The authorities are currently in a position where they have to do their best
not to damage Kyrgyzstans positive international reputation, and
simultaneously to get out of this situation with the minimum loss, he said.
Tursunbek Akun, who chairs the Kyrgyz presidential Commission for Human Rights
is sure the investigation will be thorough. There are a number of
international memorandums on how to conduct this kind of investigation, and I
think it is 60 or 70 per cent likely that it will be done in an objective
manner, he said.
If, however, the authorities fail to ensure a fair and transparent
investigation, the damage at home as well as abroad - could involve more than
a loss of face. It will undermine the regimes authority, and [show that] it
cannot protect its own citizens from abuse in other words that the law is not
working. That would then suggest that the lawful state exists only in formal
terms, said Malikov.
Gulnara Mambetalieva is an IWPR contributor in Bishkek. Taalai Amanov, also an
IWPR contributor, provided some additional reporting.
JOURNALISTS MURDER SETS BACK FREE SPEECH IN CENTRAL ASIA
The killing of Alisher Saipov may deter others from reporting on sensitive
topics, and some of his colleagues think that is why he was gunned down.
By Taalai Amanov in Bishkek
The murder of Alisher Saipov, a noted journalist in southern Kyrgyzstan, is a
major setback to the right to report freely in Central Asia, especially on the
sensitive political situation in Uzbekistan.
Saipov, 26, was killed by three gunshots on the evening of October 24 in the
centre of Osh, the major city in the south of Kyrgyzstan.
Kyrgyzstan, where the political climate is more liberal than its neighbours,
has been left in shock by the deliberate targeting of a high-profile
journalist. No arrests have been made, but many commentators believe Saipov was
eliminated because of his critical reporting on the regime in Uzbekistan.
He worked with Fergana.ru, a major Russian-language website covering Central
Asia, as well as with Radio Liberty and Voice of America. Earlier this year, he
founded an Uzbek-language newspaper Siyosat (Politics) that covered events in
Uzbekistan as well as his native Kyrgyzstan.
According to Aziza Abdurasulova, a human rights activist in Kyrgyzstan, Siyosat
was very popular in the Fergana Valley region of Uzbekistan, next door to Osh.
The murder was condemned around the world as well as in Kyrgyzstan.
I am shocked and saddened by the brutal assassination of Alisher Saipov - one
of the most promising young journalists from Kyrgyzstan, well known in his
country and abroad," said Miklos Haraszti, the OSCE Representative on Freedom
of the Media.
Hulkar Isamova, an Osh journalist who produces the Rezonans programme on the
local Mezon television station, told IWPR that Saipovs death had made many
local journalists think about their own security.
As a human being, I am afraid and I shudder every time I get a phone call, but
as a journalist I do not get intimidated by that. In contrast, it has made us
angry and we have rallied together, she said.
Like many others, Isamova believes it is no coincidence that Saipov was
silenced in the run-up to the Uzbek presidential election scheduled for
December 23, to prevent alternative viewpoints being heard.
Many analysts and journalists suspect the hand of the Uzbek secret service.
Saipov had reported being threatened on several occasions, and the
state-controlled media in Uzbekistan had run what looked like a concerted
campaign to blacken his reputation.
They wanted to kill Saipov long ago. He was a serious obstacle to the regime
in Uzbekistan. But this killing by the Uzbek intelligence services was also a
deterrent for other journalists, said Isamova.
The Uzbek authorities have not commented on Saipovs death.
Edil Baisalov, a leading Kyrgyz politician, said, Now that Saipov has been
killed, there is one less source of accurate information from Central Asia.
This killing is not simply retribution for his journalistic activity, it is a
warning to others. The bloodthirsty, dictatorial regime is saying, We have a
Baisalov says that message is intended first and foremost for journalists in
Osh, an area with a large ethnic Uzbek population. It is also a signal to the
international journalists including foreigners who work here. In the run-up to
the presidential election, those journalists and human rights activists who
have based their press centres in Kyrgyzstan and Osh because of the liberal
regime have realised how dangerous it is to work there, he said.
Ulughbek Babakulov, chief editor of the human rights newspaper Golos Svobody
(Voice of Freedom) knew Saipov personally, and says the way the murder was
carried out, as a very public hit, suggests it was designed to intimidate
If theyd simply wanted to get rid of him, they would have done it in secrecy.
But he was shot in the city centre during the daytime, with a loud noise as
they didnt use a silencer, said Babakulov. This was done so as to scare
journalists and indeed everyone who tries to stand up to the regime in
Babakulov fears that many local journalists will stop working as a result, but
he believes information will keep flowing, There will be people who continue
to say what is going on there. They are mainly western journalists, or people
who have managed to get to the West and work independently they will keep
writing about whats happening in Uzbekistan.
Inside Uzbekistan, he added, there have been no independent journalists for a
long time, so there wont be any independent coverage of the elections or
reporting about whats actually going on there.
Baisalov agrees that the intimidation is taking place especially for the
No one is in any doubt who will win the election the incumbent president
Islam Karimov. A handful of other candidates are standing but they are minor
figures whose nominations have been sanctioned by the regime to create a show
of political competition.
Officials in Tashkent have been unusually tight-lipped about this years
ballot, announcing a firm date more or less at the last possible moment. One
possible explanation is that it is not easy to explain why Karimov has the
constitutional right to stand at all.
The president, who has been in power since Soviet times, began the first of two
five-year terms to which he was entitled back in 1991. He stayed on through a
series of constitutional fixes prolonging his term in office. In the past,
Uzbek officials were generally up front about the various changes, and were at
pains to explain why they should be seen as legitimate.
Now the range of legal mechanisms seems to have been exhausted, and with them
the answers to difficult questions posed by critics like Saipov.
Abdirasulova is convinced that the Uzbek authorities will attempt to close off
any source of information and debate about this sensitive vote.;
In my opinion, there will be minimal coverage of the presidential election
inside Uzbekistan, she said. He [Saipov] at least had an opportunity to write
about what was going on there from Kyrgyzstan, but in the wake of his death,
the Uzbek authorities will most likely not allow any criticism. Thus the screws
are being tightened to the extreme.
The BBC correspondent in Central Asia, Natalia Antelava, agrees that Saipovs
death leaves a big gap in reporting on the Uzbek election.
I think his absence will have a dramatic effect on media coverage of elections
in Uzbekistan because his newspaper was nearly the only media, besides the
internet, that gave an alternative point of view, she told IWPR. For Alisher,
who reported on Uzbekistan, elections naturally became the biggest story, and
indeed he would have been that alternative voice that people in Uzbekistan do
The killing of a leading journalist has implications which will be felt in
other Central Asian countries, too.
Saipovs murder shows that the price for freedom of speech in Central Asia is
the life of a journalist, said Abdurasulova. His death is a threat to the
foundations of democracy. Theres no doubt that journalists
in all the Central
Asian states will be intimidated and will become less critical of existing
authoritarian regimes, and of emerging ones too.
Dosym Satpaev, director of the Political Risk Assessment Group in Kazakstan,
said that while the extent of media freedom varies across Central Asia, none
are really free. This fact unites all the Central Asian states, because power
in these countries is concentrated in the hands of either one individual or a
small group. To preserve their power, these groups are willing to do many
things, above all to control access to information.
Actions ranging from murder to closing down websites have the same aim, said
Satpaev removing alternative forms of information that annoy the
Antelava added, Alisher was one of the few who kept on doing real journalism
in a region where that is dying out. Therefore, I think this [murder]
extremely tough blow for that small amount of freedom of speech that still
Tolekan Ismailova, who leads Citizens Against Corruption, a pressure group in
Kyrgyzstan, hopes that Central Asias journalists will derive strength from
their colleagues death rather than being cowed by it.
This murder will spread even greater fear in society. But I think his death
should instead encourage journalists and mobilise activists because he stood
for freedom of speech, said Ismailova. This brutal murder is a challenge to
the entire journalistic community, to everyone working for free speech, and to
the entire Central Asian human rights movement.
Taalai Amanov is an IWPR contributor in Bishkek.
TURKMEN POLICE REFORMS INSUFFICIENT
Even repeated purges of senior interior ministry staff will not reduce abuses
by an overbearing police force, say analysts.
By IWPR staff in Central Asia in Bishkek
Observers say current attempts to shake up Turkmenistans security services are
positive but will only have a limited effect. Fundamental political and
cultural changes will be needed if the police are to stop behaving as the
repressive arm of the state and start respecting the rule of law, they say.
In the last six months, President Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov has taken a series
of steps to reform his law-enforcement agencies, including sacking ministers,
reshuffling staff and responsibilities, and establishing a police complaints
However, analysts say these measures are insufficient; what is needed, they
say, is a thorough overhaul of both the interior ministry which controls the
uniformed police and the Ministry for National Security, MNB, the successor
to the Soviet KGB. They are also calling for a sea-change in attitudes to
policing, which has traditionally been seen as the instrument of state
Attempts to reform the security ministries began the month after
Berdymuhammedov came to power in February, when he established a commission to
investigate complaints made by members of the public against the
Also in March, the interior ministry was relieved of responsibility for
guarding important military and civilian facilities, but was given the traffic
police back from the MNB.
In early April, the president fired Interior Minister Akmamed Rahmanov, whom he
had inherited from his predecessor as president Saparmurad Niazov, who died in
December. The following month, interior ministry staff began going through an
appraisal system and some were reassigned to new posts.
However, these efforts were clearly not enough. On October 8, Berdymuhammedov
sacked the man he had put in to replace Rahmanov only five months earlier,
Hojamyrat Annagurbanov. Two deputy interior ministers, Nuryagdy Yagmyrov and
Muhammetdurdy Ataev, were also dismissed.
At a meeting at the ministry, the president delivered a blistering attack on
Annagurbanov and the ministry.
Its as if the winds of change havent even touched the interior ministry,
where levels of accountability, competence and rigour have fallen lower than
ever, he said.
These abuses were uncovered both in the course of checks carried out on the
ministry, and from the submissions made to the special complaints commission
the number of which, the president said, had recently doubled.
After Berdymuhammedov had finished, Turkmenistans chief prosecutor
Muhammetguly Ogshukov read out a litany of abuses the minister was said to have
presided over, including taking bribes and fabricating criminal cases.
As part of this latest cull, the chiefs of police in the capital Ashgabat and
in the northern Dashoguz region have also lost their jobs because of serious
shortcomings in their performance. In his speech, the president revealed that
more than 300 policemen across the country had been sacked in recent months for
The focus has been on the interior ministry, but two other security agencies
that arguably carry more political clout have also seen changes at the top.
At the same time as he sacked Annagurbanov, the president also removed National
Security Minister Geldymuhammed Ashirmuhammedov, another holdover from the
Niazov era. However, while the interior minister was stripped of his police
rank and all his service benefits, the outgoing MNB chief was simply shunted
off to a senior post at the countrys Military Academy.
In May, the president got rid of the man many believe engineered his swift
accession to the presidency after Niazovs death. Akmurat Rejepov headed the
Presidential Guards Service, a paramilitary force that was independent of both
the MNB and the interior ministry. He was dismissed and soon afterwards found
himself facing a 20-year term in prison.
The Turkmen leaders attempt to address law enforcement issues has been
welcomed by some in the country.
I think the president is absolutely right not to want to work with people who
worry about nothing other than lining their own pockets, said one Ashgabat
resident, who did not want to be named.
A commentator in the capital welcomed the fact that the police complaints body
appears to be listening to people.
The very fact that the commission exists makes it possible to rein in the
completely unchecked behaviour of interior ministry, MNB and prosecution
officials, he said. Everyone is aware that in recent years, these
institutions have taken it in turns to be Niazovs favourite, and that this
gave them carte blanche to do things that were often against the law. Interior
ministry, MNB and prosecution service officials and even ministers were accused
of trafficking drugs, racketeering, abducting people, driving people to
suicide, and the like.
Now the state leadership wants to hear about such cases from those who
Several low-ranking members of the interior ministry police said replacing
senior staff was a significant step.
I think its going to get easier to be a policeman, since those [top] posts
were previously held by mafia figures who were bound together by shady
business, said a police cadet.
Despite the number of dismissals, however, analysts say Berdymuhammedovs
reforms still only scratch the surface.
The police force in Turkmenistan long ago became a monster that scares the
population, said a local journalist.
A lawyer in Ashgabat said the interior ministry reforms were inadequate as the
bulk of staff remained in their posts, behaving the same as before.
The attempt to reform the interior ministry through purges, reshuffles and
punishment raises many questions
. For instance, how should rank-and-file staff
who commit offences on a daily basis be dealt with? asked the lawyer.
Much of the attention has been on the interior ministry, and less so on the
MNB, whose role in intelligence-gathering and surveillance on behalf of the
regime is all-pervasive.
The [interior ministry] police are completely subordinate to the MNB, which
plays a central role in all areas. Reforming law enforcement in isolation is of
doubtful value it should be pursued alongside political changes, said
Vyacheslav Mamedov, leader of the Civil Democratic Union, a Turkmen émigré
Tajigul Begmedova, chair of the Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation for Human
Rights, which is based in Bulgaria, said the police need a complete change of
ideology and culture.
There is a need to change attitudes to work among law enforcement staff, as
they are still convinced they are working for a punitive agency, she said.
Most important of all, this change in police attitudes has to be founded on a
respect for the constitution.
Begmedova argues that despite some systemic improvements as a result of
Berdymuhammedovs reforms, the police have not become more legally accountable.
The changes are simply that whereas Niazov kept a grip on everyone and people
were afraid, that grip has now relaxed or disappeared but nor is there law, a
fear of the law, she said.
REPORTING CENTRAL ASIA provides the international community with a unique
insiders' perspective on the region. Using our network of local journalists,
the service publishes news and analysis from across Central Asia on a weekly
The service forms part of IWPR's Central Asia Project based in Almaty, Bishkek,
Tashkent and London, which supports media development and encourages better
local and international understanding of the region.
IWPR's Reporting Central Asia is supported by the UK Community Fund. The
service is published online in English and Russian.
The opinions expressed in Reporting Central Asia are those of the authors and
do not necessarily represent those of the publication or of IWPR.
REPORTING CENTRAL ASIA: Editor-in-Chief: Anthony Borden; Managing Editor: Yigal
Chazan; Senior Editor: John MacLeod; Central Asia Editor: Saule
Mukhametrakhimova; Project Director: Kumar Bekbolotov.
IWPR Project Development and Support: Executive Director: Anthony Borden;
Strategy & Assessment Director: Alan Davis; Chief Programme Officer: Mike Day.
IWPR builds democracy at the frontlines of conflict and change through the
power of professional journalism. IWPR programs provide intensive hands-on
training, extensive reporting and publishing, and ambitious initiatives to
build the capacity of local media. Supporting peace-building, development and
the rule of law, IWPR gives responsible local media a voice.
Institute for War & Peace Reporting
48 Grays Inn Road, London WC1X 8LT, UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 7831 1030 Fax: +44 (0)20 7831 1050
For further details on this project and other information services and media
programmes, go to: www.iwpr.net
ISSN: 1477-7924 Copyright © 2007 The Institute for War & Peace Reporting
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