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21 Mar, 2008 10:41

TV journalist’s murder linked to his work?

A murder investigation has been launched after the body of a Russian TV journalist was found in Moscow. Police say 32-year-old Ilyas Shurpayev was strangled and his death could be connected to his profession.

A front-line reporter, Shurpayev worked for Russia’s First TV Channel in major hot spots across Russia’s Caucasus – Dagestan, Chechnya and Georgia’s breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

His work also took him to Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia. This February he started work at the First Channel's Moscow office.

On March 21, soon after midnight his apartment caught fire.

He lived on the top floor of the 17-storey building in the north-east of the Russian capital.

Firefighters and police recovered his body which had knife wounds, but an examination showed death was caused by strangulation. The killers tried to cover up the crime by setting fire to the flat.

Investigators say Shurpayev’s death could be connected to his profession.

On eve of the murder, he posted a message on his Internet blog complaining he was banned on some of Dagestan’s official media.

Another area of investigation is his contacts. Police say Shurpayev obviously knew his murderers because he personally asked the concierge to let them into the building.

Shurpayev leaves behind a five-year-old daughter.

Another TV journalist was murdered in February 2006.

Ilya Zimin, a correspondent for the NTV channel, was killed in his apartment in Moscow.

It was initially linked to his work. However, the court later established he was killed in a row with his friend.