Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Uzbekistan: Beaten journalist still in hospital
RFE/RL's reporter in Gulistan, Uzbekistan (120 km south of the capital Tashkent), Ms. Lobar Qaynarova, remains in the hospital with severe injuries to her face and abdomen, as well as bruises to much of her body, which she sustained during a nearly three-hour beating by attackers in the early evening of Friday, July 1, 2005.
Qaynarova was attacked by a man and two women inside the stairwell of her apartment upon returning from covering a local trial of youths charged with theft. The attackers continued to beat her while dragging her out of her apartment building and pushing her into a waiting "Moskvich" van, where they continued to beat her while driving around from approximately 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm local time. The assailants threw her out of the van with her clothing and purse in front of her home, but kept her recording equipment and disks of the trial proceedings.
Qaynarova has told local police who questioned her at the hospital that she recognized one of her attackers as the ex-wife of her husband. Local police today found Qaynarova's recorder, but not the discs, and say they "are learning" the case. There appears to be no criminal investigation at the moment.
Yesterday, Svetlana Artykova, the spokesperson for Uzbek Prosecutor General Rashid Kadirov in Tashkent, denied that Qaynorova had been severely injured and falsely reported that Qaynorova had not been hospitalized.
In recent weeks, Qaynarova had been interviewing human rights activists throughout the Syrdarya and Jizzah regions who have reported coming under intense government harassment. Before the Friday attack, she had been recently threatened several times by phone for "putting her nose into politics." Gulistan is the capital of Syrdarya region.
So far there's no word on whether Qaynarova's unborn child survived the assault.