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Posted by admin on 2006/10/10 8:04:00 (891 reads)

A recent survey showing that very few law students in Turkmenistan planned to work as lawyers has only underlined the difficult situation facing the profession.

Only two per cent of the law faculty students polled expressed a desire to work as lawyers, and in a sign of the lack of prestige enjoyed by the profession, 40 per cent were interested in the national security agency, 30 per cent in the court system, 20 per cent in the prosecution service and eight per cent in the interior ministry.

Local observers say one of the main reasons why this negative attitude is so prevalent is that it stems from President Saparmurat Niazov, known as Turkmenbashi. The president believes lawyers are a hindrance to society and government.

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Posted by admin on 2006/10/8 12:32:00 (999 reads)

A prominent human rights group has praised the European Parliament for not pursuing a trade agreement with Turkmenistan on human rights grounds.

Human Rights Watch said the decision showed that the EU would not allow abusive governments to profit from it.

An EU committee said it would not approve the deal without sustained improvement on human rights.

The EU called for the release of political prisoners and freedom for non-governmental organisations.

"This is a landmark decision against tyranny," said Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, of the decision by the EU Parliament's International Trade Committee.

The committee resolution stated that the EU would only approve an interim trade agreement with Turkmenistan if "clear, tangible, and sustained progress" on the human rights situation was achieved.

Death in custody

Turkmenistan is effectively a one-party state run since Soviet times by Saparmyrat Niyazov, and has no independent media.

Human Rights Watch says the human rights situation has deteriorated in recent months.

A Turkmen journalist, Olgusapar Muradova, died in custody last month. Family members who saw her body said she had sustained a wound to her head.

Ms Muradova was arrested in June together with several other people.

In a closed trial, two of the defendants were sentenced to seven years in prison, while Ms Muradova received a six-year sentence.

She died subsequently in prison in circumstances which Human Rights Watch describes as "highly suspicious".

October 4, 2006

Posted by admin on 2006/10/8 12:00:00 (1019 reads)

Statement by the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights

Vienna, 7 October 2006. The International Helsinki Federation for
Rights is calling upon the Russian Prosecutor General and the Minister
of Interior to take control of the investigation of the murder of
journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was shot in Moscow on 7 October.

Speaking on behalf of the IHF, Executive Director Aaron Rhodes said,
are shocked, we are disturbed, and we mourn with her family. She was
among the very few Russian journalists who investigated the realities
the war in Chechnya, and she was doubtless the bravest. Insofar as
tragic conflict is known and understood at all, it is due in large part
to her professionalism and tenacity, for which she appears to have paid
with her life.”

For more information:
Aaron Rhodes, +43-1-676-635-6612

Posted by admin on 2006/10/7 12:30:00 (860 reads)

In 15 years as an independent nation, Turkmenistan has been a state where human rights, political expression and economic advancement have been shrinking rather than expanding. Condition of this Central Asian republic is largely the result of the policies of its president, Saparmurat Niyazov.

When the Soviet Union dissolved at the end of 1991, a number of its member states, such as Georgia and Ukraine, became more democratic. But many analysts, including Erica Dailey at the Open Society Institute in New York, say that for the people of Turkmenistan, the Soviet era, in many ways, was better than today.

"It is fair to say that the political, economic, environmental and social situations in Turkmenistan have all deteriorated dramatically since the Soviet period. Turkmenistan today is one of the most closed and repressive countries in the world. Turkmenistan regularly ranks among 'the worst of the worst,"' says Dailey.

"Father of All Turkmen"

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Posted by admin on 2006/10/6 12:01:00 (842 reads)

Rep. Smith Introduces Resolution Concerning Human Rights, Democratic Practices of Turkmenistan

WASHINGTON, Oct. 2 -- Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, has introduced a resolution (H.Con.Res. 486) "expressing the sense of Congress that the Government of Turkmenistan should take immediate steps to improve its respect for human rights and democratic practices, in keeping with its international commitments and obligations."

The resolution, introduced on Sept. 27, was co-sponsored by Reps. Joe Pitts, R-Pennsylvania, and Mike McIntyre, D-North Carolina. It was referred to the House International Relations Committee and House Ways and Means Committee.

A copy of the full-text of the legislation follows:

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Posted by admin on 2006/10/5 10:46:00 (935 reads)

(Brussels, October 4, 2006) – The European Parliament yesterday took a principled stand against grossly abusive governments by voting against a trade agreement with Turkmenistan, Human Rights Watch said.

The parliament’s International Trade Committee voted to stop further consideration of an interim trade agreement with Turkmenistan until its government significantly improved its human rights record.

“This is a landmark decision against tyranny,” said Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Today’s vote signals that the EU will not allow grossly abusive governments to profit from EU engagement.”

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Posted by admin on 2006/9/26 11:43:00 (1114 reads)

All progressive organizations, defenders of women's rights, protectors of human rights, freedom seekers and progressive individuals!!!

Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights is carries petition in protection of turkmen journalists, active workers of a civil society, human right activists, oppositionists and heterodoxies. All who condemns vicious practice of the Turkmen authorities regularly pursuing heterodoxy in its any display can leave the signature under the petition:

Tadzhigul Begmedova,
Chair of Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights
September 26, 2006

Posted by admin on 2006/9/24 9:07:00 (967 reads)

MOSCOW (AP)--Relatives of a Turkmen journalist who died while in prison face harassment from authorities in the repressive Central Asian nation and could face imprisonment themselves, an international reporters watchdog warned Friday.

Human rights groups say Ogulsapar Muradova, a reporter with U.S.-funded Radio Liberty, was tortured while in prison in Turkmenistan. The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights said last week that her body, after it was released by authorities, was found to have a major head wound and there was evidence of strangulation.

Reporters Without Borders said in a statement Friday that three of Muradova's children, as well as their friends, have had their phones disconnected and their home is under constant surveillance. The children have also been fired from their jobs, the Paris-based group said.

"We fear that Muradova's children could suffer the same fate as she did, or could be deported to a location that is unknown to anyone but the police," the group said.

Muradova, who also worked with the Bulgaria-based Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation, and two other rights defenders were arrested in June, and in August were given sentences of between six and seven years for illegal possession of ammunition, according to Reporters Without Borders.

Radio Liberty said earlier that Turkmen authorities had declined the family's request that a medical examiner at the morgue conduct an examination, but allowed Muradova's two adult daughters to take their mother's body home after they appealed to the U.S. Embassy for help.

The family called a medical examiner, but Turkmen security agents surrounded the apartment building allowed no visitors to the Muradova family, it said.

Turkmenistan's autocratic president, Saparmurat Niyazov, has been in power since before the 1991 Soviet collapse, rules the desert nation with an iron fist. He tolerates no dissent and has developed an elaborate personality cult around himself.

Despite its grim human rights record, Turkmenistan has attracted sizable foreign investment because of its massive natural gas deposits.

Dow Jones International News
September 22, 2006

Posted by admin on 2006/9/23 13:06:00 (927 reads)

United States Mission to the OSCE: Statement Regarding the Death of Ms. Ogulsapar Muradova in Turkmenistan

As delivered by Ambassador Julie Finley to the Permanent Council, Vienna, September 21, 2006

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

We in the United States were saddened and concerned to learn last week of the death of Ogulsapar Muradova, a journalist who was imprisoned in Turkmenistan. We wish to extend our deepest condolences to the family of Ms. Muradova for their loss.

The facts surrounding this case give rise to numerous concerns. This much we do know: Ms. Muradova was accused by the Government of Turkmenistan of illegal weapons possession. We cannot know the truth of that accusation or the evidence against her, because her trial lasted less than two hours, and took place behind closed doors. She was convicted by a court on August 25 and sentenced to six years in prison. Less than three weeks later, she was dead.

We call upon the Government of Turkmenistan to conduct an immediate, thorough, transparent and impartial investigation into Ms. Muradova's death. We also call upon Turkmenistan's authorities to be transparent regarding the cause of death and to make public the results of the autopsy they conducted.

This case highlights the lack of independence in the Turkmen judicial system, and raises concerns regarding the absence of due process in both criminal and civil proceedings.

Furthermore, this death in custody in Turkmenistan underscores the need for greater transparency and international access to Turkmen prisons and to persons arrested in connection with the events of November 2002. This would include our former OSCE colleague Batyr Berdiev, who has not been seen by anyone in the international community since December 2002. In the face of the death in custody of Ms. Muradova, we call on the Government of Turkmenistan to demonstrate that Ambassador Berdiev is still alive, as they claim, by allowing the ICRC to have access to him. The United States is confident our OSCE Center in Turkmenistan can help facilitate this process if the government is willing.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

United States Mission to the OSCE
September 21, 2006

Posted by admin on 2006/9/23 13:05:00 (1064 reads)

Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European Union
Permanent Council No. 626

The European Union would like to draw attention to the statement of the EU Presidency issued in Brussels and Helsinki on 15 September 2006 concerning the death in custody of Ogulsapar Muradova sentenced to a six year imprisonment on 28 August this year in Turkmenistan. In line with ChairmaninOffice and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights the European Union urges the authorities in Turkmenistan to be fully transparent in this matter by making all relevant information available and providing the family of Mrs Muradova with comprehensive details.

The statement of 15 September reads as follows:

It is with deep concern that the Presidency of the European Union has learned about the death in custody of Ogulsapar Muradova. The Presidency calls for an independent investigation into the cause of her death.

In this connection the Presidency also expresses its deep concern about the denial of access of observers to the trial against Ogulsapar Muradova, Annakurban Amanklychev and Sapardurdy Khadijev. This denial would appear to be in conflict with the individual's right to a public hearing and it raises questions whether the proceedings in question constituted a fair trial or whether due process of law has been observed.

The European Union calls upon Turkmenistan to respect its obligations under international law and on the right to a fair trial.

The Presidency also urges the government of Turkmenistan to guarantee the safety of Mrs. Muradova's family members and the two other detained persons.

Furthermore, the European Union would like to express its concerns regarding the case of Mr. Kakabai Tedjenov. Mr Tedjenov was, reportedly, forcibly admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Turkmenabat in January 2006, and has allegedly since then been moved incommunicado between hospitals. The European Union calls upon Turkmenistan to provide information about his welfare and whereabouts and to treat this case in accordance with OSCE commitments.

The European Union recalls that it has repeatedly expressed its grave concern about the human rights situation in Turkmenistan. We urge the Turkmen government to implement fully its OSCE commitments and reiterate our readiness to assist Turkmenistan in this regard.

The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia, EFTA countries Iceland and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this statement.

European Union
September 21, 2006

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