A great loss for the whole nation: such was the reaction of Central Asian – especially Uzbek – blogosphere to the assassination of Alisher Saipov, a prominent journalist from Osh, southern city in Kyrgyzstan that borders with Uzbekistan. As he was an ethnic Uzbek and lived in a border area, Alisher Saipov, 26, very often covered issues neglected not only by Kyrgyz media but also media in Uzbekistan that is heavily controlled by the government.
During his short but active life, Alisher Saipov collaborated with News Agency Ferghana.ru, Voice of America Uzbek Service, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and Uznew.net. Moreover, Alisher Saipov had found the Siyosat [Politics] newspaper in Uzbek language that was published in Osh city and often smuggled into the territory of Uzbeksitan. The newspaper was devoted to cover mainly religious, human rights and political issues on both sides of the border. Alisher Saipov had also launched the online version of the newspaper which has not been updated after his death.
Libertad in neweursia was one of the first to report on the assassination of the journalist. Libertad believes that it is a great loss that such a great person was murdered.
He was well-know not only in Kyrgyzstan, but in whole Central Asia for his excellent work as a journalist. Alisher Saipov was a great journalist, a wonderful person and a cool chap, who was always happy to help people, especially friends, and who never gave up in the face of obstacles. He always stayed loyal to his principles. And his principles were truth, honesty, honor and courage.
Craig Murray, a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, whose blog was recently shut down [now on] because of his posts that accused Alisher Usmanov, a Russian billionaire with Uzbek origins, for being corrupted, writes that for those who speak freely in Uzbekistan [and its near abouts] the situation is getting really dangerous. Craig Murray, as a person who knew Alisher Saipov personally, mourns his death:
I cannot believe Alisher Saipov is dead. When last I saw him he can only have been 23 years old, and was so brimming with energy, life and optimism. Now at 26 he is dead, just the latest dissident to be murdered by the Karimov regime.
The blog Azamat Report publishes press release of the Committee to Protect Journalists about the murder of Alisher Saipov and generates discussion about Andijan events and Alisher Saipov's contribution to cover the massacre.
Daagini wrote in the blog Confessions of ‘Innocent’ Mind it always said to hear such news and though he/she did not know Alisher Saipov and have never heard of him, he/she mourns his death.
Isn't it strange that no matter where you are… who you are… what you are… things happening in a land far far away stir emotions in you, you never would have thought possible. Its streams through your mind like a motion picture… and stems thoughts which wouldn't have been there otherwise.
Joshua Foust in Registan.net wrote a post in honor of murdered Alisher Saipov. The post mainly discusses about how dangerous it is to be a journalist in post soviet countries. Since the fall of Soviet Union, there had been many cases of journalists murder, and, as Joshua writes, the majority of crimes are still a mystery. The reason is that ‘[former soviet] countries run by the KGB, or by the same old Soviet officials and chieftans behave like… the KGB, or the old Soviet system’.
In the same post in Registan.net, Joshua gives a list of journalists from former Soviet countries murdered after 2000. Joshua does not give any names for Uzbekistan, and the reason is obvious – journalists in Uzbekistan just disappear and no one can confirm if they are alive or not.
Kyrgyz law enforcement bodies immediately launched investigation of the crime, though this did not bring awaited results. In the report of Ministry of Internal Affairs, it says that the reasons of the murder of Alisher Saipov was his links with Hizb-ut-Tahrir, a religious organization banned both in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Libertad commented about the report of officials saying:
The general impression about the investigation is that Kyrgyz law enforcement organizations searched for the information that would prove that there were no any traces of Uzbek secret services in the murder of the journalist, but it was Alisher Saipov’s connections to different extremist organizations that eventually led to assassination.