Biographies of Slain BBG Journalists


Leonid Karas.
Karas wrote for the Belarusian language service of RFE/RL. An emigre living in Germany, in September 1954 he was found drowned in suspicious circumstances in the Isar River.


Abdulrachmann (Abo) Fatalibey.
Fatalibey worked as chief editor for RFE/RL’s Azeri language service. Fatalibey, 46, was beaten and strangled to death in a Munich apartment. He had a wife and son in the USSR.


Georgi Markov.
Markov covered life in Bulgarian intellectual circles for RFE/RL. He was well-known in his native Bulgaria for his “My Talks with Todor Zhivkov” series, based on personal knowledge of the former Communist leader. Markov, 49, died in London in September 1978 after being stabbed in the leg with an umbrella containing the lethal poison ricin. He had a wife and daughter at the time of his death.


Ricardo de Mello.
De Mello covered the Angolan Civil War in the 1990s for VOA. He was best known as the founder of Imparcial Fax, a daily news service covering government corruption, sent to subscribers virally via fax. De Mello, 38, was found shot in the head near his Luanda apartment in January 1995. He is survived by his wife.


Iskandar Khatloni.
Having worked for RFE/RL since 1996 and the BBC before that, Khatloni covered politically sensitive issues in the former Soviet Union, including work on human rights abuses in Chechnya. He was a distinguished poet, producing four volumes of work. Khatloni, 46, was attacked in his apartment and died later at a Moscow hospital. He left behind a wife and daughter.


Abdul-Hussein Khazal.
He reported for Alhurra on issues inside Iraq, including extensive coverage of elections, and previously for Radio Sawa. Khazal was also head of the press service for the Basra city council, editor of a Basra newspaper and a member of the Shia Dawa party. Khazal, 40, and his three-year-old son, were both shot dead in February 2005 as they left their house in Basra.


Ogulsapar Muradova.
Based in Ashgabat, Muradova reported on human rights issues in Turkmenistan for RFE/RL. A staunch defender of human rights, she was also a member of the Turkmen Helsinki Federation. In a sweeping campaign by the Turkmen government to crack down on dissidents, Muradova, 58, was arrested in June 2006 and died mysteriously in September of that year. Family members reported seeing marks of torture and a “large wound” on the journalist’s head. She left behind three daughters.


Khamail Muhsin Khalaf.
Khalaf covered social and cultural life in Iraq for RFE/RL’s Arabic service. She was a well-known former Iraqi television newscaster who had worked for Iraqi national television since the 1970s and joined RFE/RL shortly after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Khamail disappeared on April 3, 2007. Her body was found two days later, evidently tortured and shot in the head. Fifty years old, she left behind her husband and three daughters.

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