Ilyas Shurpayev killed

According to reports from Novosti Ilyas Shurpayev, a Russian television journalist, has been found dead in his apartment in the northeast of Moscow. The 32 year old was known for reporting from Russia’s North Caucasus including the republic of Daghestan, Georgia’s breakaway republic of Abkhazia and Chechnya,

“According to a preliminary forensic medical examination, Ilyas Shurpayev was strangled with a belt,” the source said, adding that a fire had been started at the scene of the crime, but that it had been extinguished before it could spread. The management of Russia’s state-run Channel 1, where the murdered journalist worked until recently, has confirmed Shurpayev’s death. A spokesman for the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office said a murder investigation had been launched. A source in the investigating group said that one of the theories being considered was that the murder was connected with the journalist’s professional activities. link

The Associated Press adds,

Hours before his death, Shurpayev wrote in his blog that the owners of a newspaper in Dagestan banned a column he wrote and instructed its staffers not to mention his name in publications. “Now I am a dissident!” was the title of the last entry in the Web journal under his name. link

Reporters Without Borders say 21 journalists were murdered in Russia between 2000 and 2007 including the high profile case of Anna Politkovskaya who was gunned down outside her Moscow apartment in October 2006.
UPDATE: RBC reports Shurpayev’s death was nothing to do with his work,

According to preliminary data, the assasination of Channel One Russia journalist Ilyas Shurpayev is not connected with his professional activities, the press and media department of the investigative department at the General Prosecutor’s office reported today. The investigation is underway and the version of the journalist’s assasination in connection with his work at the TV channel has been ruled out. It is quite likely that Shurpayev knew the murderer. link

UPDATE: The International Federation of Journalists condemns the killing,

“We are shocked by the circumstances of Shurpayev’s death”, said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White, “and we fear that this has all of the hallmarks of a targeted attack on a journalist who was reporting from the frontline of conflicts on Russia’s borders.” “We hope that the investigators will be able to establish if Shurpayev’s death is connected with his journalistic activities, in which case we call for justice”, said White. “We have seen too many cases of impunity over killed journalists in the past years in Russia and this new, tragic case is an occasion to show that crimes against media professionals are taken seriously”. link