Lira Bayseitova, Kazakhstan

The former editor-in-chief of the opposition newspaper Respublika 2000, Bayseitova published an interview in the daily newspaper SolDat with a former public prosecutor from Switzerland who confirmed the existence of Swiss bank accounts held by several senior Kazakh officials. Bayseitova's previous work had drawn threats and physical attacks. But her story took a nightmarishly new turn when, following publication of her exposé, Lira's 25-year-old daughter, Leila, was arrested on drug charges and died a few days later in police custody. Leila's arrest - police said she was a heroin addict - led to her death when, still according to police, she tried to hang herself in a jail cell using her jeans as a crude noose. A Reporters sans frontières fact-finding mission travelled to the Kazakh capital of Almaty to investigate. In a 20-page report released in 2002, RSF said the authorities' explanation of what happened to Leila is "riddled with discrepancies and not very convincing." A team of Ontario coroners also travelled to Almaty at the end of 2002. They reported that Leila probably hanged herself. The team did not, however, perform an autopsy on Leila as requested by Lira.
International Press Freedom Award

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.