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RSF questions death of Kazakh opposition journalist's daughter

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Damocles Network question the official version in its 29 August release of a previously unpublished report on the suspicious death on 21 June of Leyla Baysetova, 25, the daughter of Kazakh opposition journalist Lira Baysetova. As for the police and judiciary explanations provided so far, RSF and the Damocles Network deem them too "riddled with discrepancies." On 16 June, while detained for illegal possession of drugs, the young woman was hospitalized in a coma; she died five days later. Officials claim that she committed suicide while suffering withdrawal symptoms. RSF and the Damocles Network sent a fact-finding mission to Almaty.

Just before her daughter's untimely death, Lira Baysetova, the former editor in chief of the opposition paper "Respublika 2000," had published an interview in the daily "SolDat" with Geneva's former public prosecutor, Bernard Bertossa, who confirmed the existence of Swiss bank accounts of several senior Kazakh officials, including President Nazarbaev. She claims to have been the victim, on several occasions, of intimidation, including physical attacks and telephone threats, due to her investigation into corruption in Kazakhstan. RSF and the Damocles Network, in accordance with the wishes of the civil party, have proposed the assistance of independent experts in forensic medicine and toxicology to obtain a second expert opinion after the exhumation of the body .

(RFE/RL 30.viii.02)

 
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