Zorig Sanjasuuren, Mongolia

Zorig Sanjasuuren, Mongolia
Human rights cases

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Zorig Sanjasuuren's murder in 1998 remains unsolved. Photo courtesy of Sanjasuuren family

Zorig Sanjasuuren, an MP and pro-democracy activist, was murdered at his home in Mongolia in 1998. No one has been brought to justice.

Mongolian MP Zorig Sanjasuuren, 36, was stabbed to death in 1998 by attackers who lay in wait at his home in the capital. IPU continues to press the authorities to resolve the murder.

Seen by many as the father of the democratic movement in Mongolia in the 1990s, Zorig had a reputation as an honest man with no business interests. IPU sources fear that as an outspoken politician, he may have been the victim of a politically motivated assassination.

At the time of his murder, Mongolia was in a period of political upheaval after the breakdown of the coalition government. Talks were under way to select the next prime minister.

Some reports suggest that Zorig Sanjasuuren, the acting minister of infrastructure, was being considered as a candidate for prime minister and even had a meeting with the country’s president about it on the day he was killed.

On the day of his murder, 2 October 1998, Zorig Sanjasuuren returned to his flat in the centre of Ulanbaatar late in the evening. The attackers, who had tied up his companion in the bathroom, repeatedly stabbed him.

A parliamentary report in July 2000 severely criticised the initial investigation into the murder. It concluded that the failure to identify any suspects was due to the irresponsibility of the investigating authorities, lack of in-depth analysis of evidence, and the influence of external agendas.

Since the report, Mongolian authorities have pursued their inquiries, which included seeking forensic assistance from abroad. However, no overall progress appears to have been made.

IPU deeply regrets that so many years after the murder, no light has been shed on the crime. It calls on Mongolian authorities to conduct inquiries with due thoroughness and diligence, so those responsible can be brought to justice.