Mystery Surrounds Death Of Kazakh Journalist

NUR-SULTAN -- A Kazakh journalist known for his criticism of the authorities has died in hospital hours after he wrote on Facebook that doctors gave him an unknown medicine.

Quandyq Shamakhaiuly said he was hospitalized about a week ago with pneumonia and coronavirus symptoms and was getting ready to be released soon. But soon after the post, the 59-year-old died early in the morning on June 29.

Just hours before his death, Shamakhaiuly wrote on Facebook that a physician and a nurse had woken him up at around 2:00 am, asked him to sign a paper, and gave him "a white medicine to prevent a virus. He said he signed the paper without thinking as he was still half-asleep," and then took the medicine.

"Now I have doubts, is this a way to kill me? I have drunk three liters of water. Their behavior was suspicious. They did not explain anything," Shamakhaiuly wrote.

Berik Quandyquly told RFE/RL that his father was hospitalized on June 23 and confirmed he was preparing to be released in days.

"He has never been connected to the artificial lung ventilation system. Yesterday, he told us that he felt just fine, no fever, good appetite," Quandyquly said.

Shamakhaiuly's relatives say they are very suspicious about the death as the journalist was an open critic of the authorities in the tightly controlled Central Asian nation.

The Nur-Sultan city health-care directorate said on June 29 that Shamakhaiuly was treated for pneumonia and died on June 29, adding that "his death was investigated and his relatives will be provided with the results of the investigation."