Alisher Saipov was a Kyrgyzstani journalist of Uzbek ethnic origin and the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Siyosat. The newspaper was run by the country’s ethnic Uzbek minority, and reported on human rights abuses in neighbouring Uzbekistan. Saipov often wrote articles that were critical of both the Uzbek President, Islam Karimov and his government. Saipov wrote extensively about torture in Uzbek prisons, the clampdown on dissent, and the rise of Islamic radicalism. He also worked as a correspondent for RFE/RL and Voice of America. In October of 2007, he was shot dead at close range outside of his downtown office.
Kyrgyz investigators said they were probing allegations that Uzbek security agents might have been involved in the murder. The International Crisis Group, an NGO, stated that there were “strong indications” that Uzbek agents were in fact responsible. Thus, in April 2009, Kyrgyz officials announced that they had found the murder weapon and had arrested former police officer Abdufarit Rasulov for the crime. However, the trial judge in the Osh City Court ruled that there was insufficient evidence for a trial. Prosecutors appealed, and the judge was replaced. On December 9, 2009, Kyrgyzstan’s Supreme Court ruled that the prosecution of Abdufarit Rasulov, could proceed, following an appeal from Alisher Saipov’s father who called the case “bogus”. According to Uznews, Rasulov denied involvement in the murder and said that he was beaten by police, after which the Kyrgyz authorities refused to launch a new investigation. Radio Free Europe was critical of the decision, stating, “the confusion and contradictions around the investigation have granted de facto impunity to Saipov’s killers and raise questions about the Kyrgyz government’s commitment to solving the case.”
However, in 2010, Rasulov was found guilty and sentenced to twenty years in prison. On 25 October 2012, Kyrgyz Deputy Interior Minister Melis Turganbaev stated that a new investigation into the murder had begun.