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News : U.S. Agency Demands Probe into Death of Journalist in Turkmen Custody
Posted by admin on 2006/9/15 22:07:00 (968 reads)

The U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors, the body which governs official U.S. overseas broadcasting, has issued a resolution demanding an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the death in custody of Ogulsapar Muradova, a human rights activist with the Bulgaria-based Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation rights group who was also a reporter with U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). Muradova and two colleagues, Amankurban Amanklychev and Sapardurdy Khajiyev, were arrested in June in an operation described by the Turkmen government as a clampdown on an underground network seeking to destabilise the Central Asian state and were subsequently handed down sentences ranging from six to seven years (see Turkmenistan: 21 June 2006: ).

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) declared that it was "shocked" by reports of Muradova's death, releasing a statement calling on the European Union (EU), the United States and Russia to demand a full explanation from the Turkmen authorities surrounding Muradova's death. RFE/RL claimed that Turkmen authorities had declined the family's request that a medical examination be done at the morgue but allowed Muradova's children to take their mother's body home after they appealed for help to the U.S. Embassy.Significance: The suspicious death of Muradova in custody will fuel the flames surrounding the alleged spy ring in Turkmenistan, which the authorities claim involved western diplomats who financed a human-rights training session in Ukraine; which the Turkmen government believes was established with the backing of western governments with the aim of overthrowing the regime.

Ben Wetherall
Global Insight Daily Analysis
September 15, 2006

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