Suspect Says Slain Reporter Offered Him Money for Sex

APShurpayev
DUSHANBE, Tajikistan -- Two Tajik men have admitted to robbing and killing Channel One journalist Ilyas Shurpayev in his Moscow apartment, with one claiming that the victim had earlier offered him money for sex, an official said Monday.

Shurpayev, 32, was found dead March 21 in his rented Moscow apartment. His murder renewed fears for journalists working in Russia, which is considered one of the most dangerous countries for reporters.

Tajik Interior Ministry spokesman Makhmadali Shafoatov said one of the two suspects, Masrudzhon Yatimov, claimed that Shurpayev had offered him money nine days earlier to have sex.

"Shurpayev himself invited [Yatimov] to his house on March 12 and offered him money to have sexual relations," Shafoatov said.

During the visit, Yatimov learned that the reporter had just received a large money transfer, and he and another man, Nadzhmiddin Mukhiddinov, then returned to Shupayev's apartment on March 21 to rob him, he said.

After Shurpayev resisted, they ended up killing him, Shafoatov said.

The attackers set fire to Shurpayev's apartment and Moscow police later found him with a belt around his neck and numerous stab wounds.

The two suspects "have already fully admitted their guilt in committing this crime," Shafoatov said.

Investigators took from the men Shurpayev's gold watch, his cell phone and 150,000 rubles ($6,400) in cash, Shafoatov told reporters in Dushanbe, the Tajik capital.