Tajiks Hold 3 in Death Of Reporter

Police arrested three suspects in Tajikistan on Saturday over the murder of television journalist Ilyas Shurpayev, who was found strangled in his Moscow apartment a week earlier.

Police said suspected ringleader Masrudzhon Yatimov, 24, was arrested in his native village of Shakhrinav, near the Tajik capital, Dushanbe. He was taken by police to a Dushanbe holding facility.

Police say Shurpayev's work may have been a motive for the killing.

Moscow criminal investigators traveled to Tajikistan for the arrests, tipping off local police on the suspects' location and taking part in the suspect's detention, Tajik police official Khaidar Makhmadiev said, Interfax reported.

All of the suspects are Tajik nationals, he said.

Firefighters found the body of Shurpayev, 32, on March 21 when they arrived to put out a fire in his apartment.

A concierge at his building said Shurpayev had called down to ask her to let in two young men of non-Slavic appearance.

Police said the killers set the apartment on fire and took 100,000 rubles, about $4,100.

On the day of Shurpayev's murder, unidentified gunmen shot and killed the head of Dagestan's state-controlled television channel, but officials said they did not believe the killings were related.

Shurpayev had moved to Moscow from Dagestan, where he worked for several years as a reporter with state-controlled Channel One television.

Reuters, AP