Kazakhstan: Plot Thickens in Case of Missing Publisher
The mystery surrounding the whereabouts of the publisher of the Respublika newspaper, known for its hard-hitting reporting, is deepening. Daniyar Moldashev, director of the ADP Ltd company (Respublika’s registered publisher) went missing last week after being beaten up and robbed of documents belonging to the paper. Now, his brother Askar says, he’s been in contact -- but his phone call has only increased his relatives’ misgivings. Askar Moldashev has now filed a statement with police urging them to get to the bottom of the mystery.According to the statement, lodged on April 2, Daniyar Moldashev called his brother at noon on April 2 and said “that he was in Minsk on his own business, that everything was fine with him, that I shouldn’t make a statement, and that he’d explain everything to me later.”This was the first time Daniyar Moldashev had been in contact since March 30, his brother said, and in the intervening period his telephone was switched off and he didn’t reply to SMS messages.“His behavior looks very strange, there’s never been anything like this before,” Askar Moldashev commented, adding that he only waited so long to file a statement because the police themselves -- who visited Moldashev’s relatives on March 30 to investigate -- advised him that he had to wait three days. Expressing concern that reports of his brother being under surveillance during a recent business trip to Moscow, the attack on him immediately after his return, the theft of Respublika’s documents and his disappearance might be “links in one chain,” Askar Moldashev urged police to investigate.“All the relatives are extremely concerned at his disappearance,” he said. “Therefore I urge you to urgently start searching for him; I ask you to investigate very quickly and thoroughly all the events that have happened to him in recent days. It is necessary to establish whether he really is outside Kazakhstan and where his calls really came from.”
Joanna Lillis is a journalist based in Almaty and author of Dark Shadows: Inside the Secret World of Kazakhstan.
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