Europe & Central Asia


Alerts   |   Serbia

Serbian soldiers convicted in 1991 slaughter of civilians, journalists

New York, December 13, 2005—The War Crimes Chamber of the district court in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, convicted 14 former soldiers Monday on charges of torturing and executing Croatian civilians, including at least two journalists, in neighboring Croatia in 1991, according to international press reports.

The defendants were given prison sentences ranging from five to 20 years for the massacre of more than 200 prisoners of war at an abandoned farm outside the eastern Croatian city of Vukovar. Two other defendants were acquitted.

December 13, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Uzbekistan

Accreditation of last independent foreign broadcaster withheld

New York, December 12, 2005—Uzbekistan today denied accreditation to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), silencing the last independent foreign broadcaster reporting from the country. The Foreign Ministry wrote the U.S.-funded radio station that it would not renew accreditation for its Tashkent bureau and would withdraw the current press cards of four RFE/RL correspondents in the country.

The government of President Islam Karimov has pursued independent journalists since foreign media carried news of the May 13 massacre in the northeastern city of Andijan, where government forces shot and killed between 500 and 1,000 demonstrators, according to eyewitnesses and human rights groups. The BBC closed its Tashkent office in late October citing government harassment.
December 12, 2005 12:00 PM ET


Alerts   |   Tajikistan

Authorities ignore second Supreme Court order to free journalist

New York, December 9, 2005—Tajik authorities have ignored a second Supreme Court order to release jailed independent journalist Jumaboy Tolibov, according to a local CPJ legal source, who is monitoring the case.

The court ruled on October 11 and again on November 28 that Tolibov should be freed from a detention center in the town of Istarafshan in the northern region of Sogd. But the Prosecutor General's Office in the capital Dushanbe has effectively blocked his release, the source said. Tolibov was jailed in April this year after criticizing a local prosecutor in three newspaper articles in 2004.
December 9, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Croatia

Newspaper editor receives death threat for reporting on war crimes

New York, December 8, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by an anonymous death threat made against Drago Hedl, editor of the independent Croatian satirical weekly Feral Tribune. Hedl said on Wednesday he received a letter mailed December 5 in his home city of Osijek that in letters cut from newspapers threatened to kill him and his source, local and international press reported.

The letter alluded to Milan Levar, an ethnic Serb, who was killed in a 2000 explosion after testifying before the Hague-based United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia about war crimes committed against ethnic Serbs in Croatia.
December 8, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Belarus

CPJ condemns draft law to silence government criticism

New York, December 7, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by draft legislation that makes criticism of authoritarian President Aleksandr Lukashenko and his government punishable by up to five years in prison. The lower house of parliament passed amendments to the Penal Code on December 2, a move criticized by the United States and European Union. The upper house is scheduled to vote on the bill on Thursday before it is sent to Lukashenko for signing.
December 7, 2005 12:00 PM ET


Alerts   |   Russia

Preliminary hearing held in Klebnikov murder trial

New York, December 6, 2005—The Moscow City Court today held a preliminary hearing behind closed doors for three men accused in the July 2004 murder of Forbes Russia editor-in-chief Paul Klebnikov. The court ordered a jury trial to begin December 29, Moscow radio station Ekho Moskvy reported.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has urged prosecutors to reconsider a November decision to hold the trial in camera.

December 6, 2005 12:00 PM ET


Case   |   Russia


NOVEMBER 29, 2005
Posted: December 1, 2005

Olga Romanova, Ren-TV

Romanova said at a press conference in Moscow that she was concerned for her safety and that of her two children. She said that she had been followed by a black Audi since filing a criminal complaint with the Khamovnicheskii inter-district prosecutor on November 28 against the three security guards who prevented her from entering the Ren-TV office on November 24. She filed the criminal complaint under Article 144 of the Criminal Code on obstructing labor activities. Romanova also said that she did not feel safe in Ren-TV premises because the same three security guards were following her around the office.
November 29, 2005 12:00 PM ET


Alerts   |   Russia

TV anchor taken off air for critical news reporting

New York, November 28, 2005—Moscow-based Ren-TV has taken news anchor Olga Romanova off the air after she criticized the privately owned station for censoring her news coverage. Romanova said three security guards prevented her from entering the TV station on November 24 to host her evening news program "24," according to local and international news reports.

Romanova said her program was dropped shortly after she publicly criticized Ren-TV management for blocking reports that they believed might anger the Kremlin. One such story was the decision by authorities not to prosecute the son of Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov for killing an elderly pedestrian in a car accident in May, Romanova told the private Moscow-based radio station Ekho Moskvy.
November 28, 2005 12:00 PM ET


Alerts   |   Russia

Trial of Klebnikov murder suspects to be held in secretCPJ urges open proceeding

New York, November 22, 2005—Two Chechen men charged in the July 2004 slaying of Forbes Russia editor Paul Klebnikov in Moscow will be tried in secret at the direction of the Russian prosecutor general, according to local and international press reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists urged prosecutors to reconsider the decision and hold the proceedings in public.
November 22, 2005 12:00 PM ET


Case   |   Uzbekistan


NOVEMBER 10, 2005
POSTED: December 2, 2005

Aleksei Volosevich,

Five unidentified men attacked Volosevich, one of the few independent reporters still working in Uzbekistan who witnessed the Andijan massacre, near his apartment in the capital Tashkent. Volosevich, is a correspondent for the Moscow-based Central Asia news Web site He told CPJ the men knocked him to the ground, kicked him, and then doused him with paint which temporarily blinded him. Volosevich, 38, was not hospitalized.
November 10, 2005 12:00 PM ET



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