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Posted by admin on 2005/3/12 15:19:00 (1574 reads)

March 11, 2005

Prezident Turkmenistana Saparmurad A. Niyazov
Apparat Prezidenta

Your Excellency President Niyazov,

I am an Akhal Teke breeder in British Columbia, Canada. I have dedicated my life to introduce and promote this extraordinary horse breed to Canadians. It is my sincere wish that one day I can perhaps visit the Presidential Stables to view your horses who I have heard are some of the most beautiful specimens in the entire world. It would be wonderful for me to see Piyada and Yanardag, both of whom have already adorned several paintings and photos.

You have acquired, Your Excellency, a reputation at the international level for not only having a profound affection for Akhal Tekes but also for your immeasurable contribution towards the preservation and promotion of these unique horses. Your generosity in gifting noble Akhal Teke horses to other heads of state clearly illustrates the pride that you feel for these horses. I hope that my humble efforts to breed and promote Akhal Teke horses in Canada will be fruitful. We already had success last year with one of our Akhal Teke, a beautiful filly from the El line named “Almaty”. She won first place and reserve champion at a large exhibition. In addition to educating the Canadian equestrian community about Akhal Tekes, I take great pride in introducing Canadians to the Akhal Teke’s homeland. This great, ancient land that is Turkmenistan never fails to intrigue my audience. Truly, I sincerely hope that one day I can visit your great homeland. I do not think that books can do its splendor justice.

Another Turkmen breeder for whom I have great respect is M. Geldy Kyarizov. M. Kyarizov has demonstrated a wealth of knowledge about Akhal Teke horses. I have heard through the international community of Akhal Teke breeders that M. Kyarizov has been imprisoned for some time now and that his health is extremely poor. I do not wish, Your Excellency, to be disrespectful and ask you why M. Kyarizov is in prison. I am from Canada, and as you probably know, Canada is highly regarded worldwide as a peaceful and neutral nation. Canada does not disrespectfully probe into the affairs of other nations. After careful consideration, I have decided to write to you personally to present an offer. I am in great hope that you will see a value in this offer. I am respectfully asking that you exercise your power of Presidential pardon for M. Kyarizov, perhaps on the grounds that he is a gravely ill man who has served his country and Akhal Teke horses in the past with great fervor. Perhaps the National Day of the Horse could be an opportunity to exercise your Presidential pardon for M. Kyarizov. I can assure Your Excellency that this pardon would be regarded by the international Akhal Teke community as a great gesture of affection for the Akhal Tekes because it would show that you wisely see the benefits of making available the skills and knowledge of M. Kyarizov. Your Excellency, I hope that I have not offended you by presenting you with this proposition. Such was not my intent. I humbly implore you to give it consideration.

With immense respect,

Sandra de Blois, Ph.D.

Lone Larch Akhal Tekes


Posted by admin on 2005/3/3 18:06:00 (1367 reads)

A proposed measure by Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov to close down all hospitals outside the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat, has drawn sharp criticism from outside observers and activists.

"The president's order to close hospitals outside of the capital is shocking even by the regime's own abysmal standards," Erika Dailey, director of the Open Society Institute's Turkmenistan Project, told IRIN on Wednesday from the Hungarian capital, Budapest. "I have not heard of policies this unapologetically retrogressive come out of Turkmenistan in a long while."

"Such moves by the Turkmen authorities will only further restrict the rights of Turkmens to healthcare," Tajigul Begmedova, head of the Turkmen Helsinki Foundation, told IRIN from the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Varna, noting the high costs of clinics were already far beyond the financial means of most citizens.

"It is clear that these moves won't bring any good for people's health. On the contrary it will only worsen the situation with regard to healthcare," she maintained.

During a meeting with local officials on Monday, a government spokesman announced that Niyazov – otherwise known as Turkmenbashi the Great - had ordered the closure of all hospitals in the reclusive Central Asian state except those in the capital.

"Why do we need such hospitals?" the BBC reported him as saying. "If people are ill, they can come to Ashgabat."

But for the country's 5 million inhabitants, the move will only exacerbate the state's already deteriorating healthcare system.

Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Turkmenistan had one of the least well-resourced healthcare systems in the Soviet Union, according to Dailey. However, following independence, the situation went from bad to worse and health standards declined further as a result of budget cutbacks, a brain drain and inadequate medical education and training.

"But Turkmenistan's health crisis is distinct and worse because it is the only government in the region that has deliberately dismantled the remaining infrastructure without budgetary justification," Dailey said, citing a decision in 2004 to lay off 15,000 healthcare professionals and replace them with army conscripts.

"Can you imagine any other government calling unskilled, semi-literate 18-year-olds giving inoculations and delivering babies "healthcare?" she asked.

According to the activist, Niyazov routinely fabricated healthcare statistics and had even prohibited doctors from diagnosing communicable diseases, such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. "The government deliberately puts its head in the sand and deprives citizens access to treatment. As the HIV/AIDS epidemic spreads throughout the region, the human toll could be enormous," she warned, a concern Begmedova shared as well.

"We monitor the healthcare system in Turkmenistan and our findings sadly suggest that health services in the country do not even meet those standards that existed during Soviet times, not to mention international norms. People are not provided with the comprehensive health services they need," she explained.

Although it remained unclear whether the president's comments would result in a presidential decree or otherwise be codified as law and there was presently no indication of how or whether the president's will on this issue would be enforced in practice, the legalities in a lawless state were largely beside the point, Dailey said.

"Bureaucrats have in the past enforced off-hand statements of the president as if they had the force of law. The president's comment last year that gold teeth were unsanitary resulted in bureaucrats checking students' teeth as they entered schools and sending them back petrified if they had them," she said.
Asked what needed to be done, Begmedova called on the international community to raise the alarm, warning of possible humanitarian consequences if it failed to do so.

"The international community could assist the people in need if only the authorities agreed to it. But the official policy of Ashgabat is that they do not accept that such problems exist and everything is fine according to them. But hiding all these facts only aggravates the situation."

Dailey, however, was more forthright, calling for a stronger reaction to Monday's announcement in keeping the order from being implemented.

"The international community can also play a constructive role by helping create opportunities to keep the medical and health professions alive in Turkmenistan through scholarships, study tours, conferences. Only strong and sustained multilateral pressure on the dictatorship can send the message that, for once, it has gone too far," she said.

March 2, 2005

Posted by admin on 2005/2/22 18:08:00 (1464 reads)

There is much to admire about Parade magazine's annual list of the world's worst dictators, including the very fact of its existence. It's a useful reminder of the oppression under which much of the world's population still lives even as democracy is making progress in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Topping Sunday's list of tyrants is Sudan's Omar al Bashir, who bears responsibility for the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of western Sudan, where tens of thousands have died and two million have been uprooted by government-backed militias. Also ranked in descending order of awfulness are North Korea's Kim Jong Il, Burma's Than Shwe, Hu Jintao of China, Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and the leader of Equatorial Guinea.

Our one disagreement would be Parade's mention of Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf at number seven, just after Gadhafi. General Musharraf came to power in a military coup, overturning an elected government. But Pakistan remains a far freer place than any other country on the list -- and certainly freer than Cuba, whose Fidel Castro rates merely a Parade "dishonorable mention."

With occasional exceptions, Pakistan passes the test that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice laid out in her confirmation hearing last month: "The world should apply what Natan Sharansky calls the `town square test,' " she said. "If a person cannot walk into the middle of the town square and express his or her views without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm, then that person is living in a fear society, not a free society." Pick up a newspaper in Karachi and you'll read plenty of criticism of General Musharraf, who deserves to be replaced on next year's list by Fidel, or Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

The Wall Street Journal
February 15, 2005

Posted by admin on 2004/7/24 15:29:00 (1475 reads)

Halmurad Gylychdurdiyev, a 70 years old inhabitant of Ashgabat, was detained by three officers of the Ministry for National Security (MNS) on 23 June 2004.

Since 2001 he started to openly give interviews to the US Radio Liberty based in Turkmenistan. As a matter of fact, his discussions were not related to politics. However, he did openly criticize the arbitrariness of the Turkmen officials and discussed important cultural and artistic issues. Some days ago Gylychdurdiyev was one of the participants of the ‘round table’ discussions arranged by Radio Liberty, where he was asked:” Are you not afraid of participating in our programmes?”

According to received information, Gylychdurdiyev was summoned to the MNS shortly before his detention. However, there was no signature, no stamp nor surname on the summons. In addition, an MNS officer, introducing himself as Dovletmurad Karayev, repeatedly called him (tel. 39 37 98). Gylychdurdiyev demanded that either the summons be issued properly by the MNS staff or a warrant be submitted from the public prosecutor’s office.

On 22 June Gylychdurdiyev had a cataract operation. The same day several Secret Service officers came to his house and attempted to take him to the MNS. One of the officers gave his name as Berdiev. The officials, however, failed to present the documents confirming their identities. Gylychdurdiyev’s wife, Galina, insisted that Halmurad had to stay in bed after his recent surgery, whereupon one of the officers entered Halmurad’s bedroom to see if she was telling the truth.

The next day Halmurad Gylychmuradov went to the eye hospital to have the bandage removed and a check-up. At 10 a.m., as soon as the procedure was over, the three officers immediately took him to the MNS. This fact was confirmed by his hospital doctor.

We were also informed that the day before Gylychdurdiyev was detained the MNS officer Dovletmurat Karayev called him demanding that he report to their office “for a talk”. In response Gylychdurdiev said:” We have talked already several times. I answered all your questions. Why are you still persecuting me? Leave me alone!”

The officials reportedly demanded that Gylychdurdiyev stop his contact with the Radio Liberty in Turkmenistan.

Yesterday Gylychdurdiyev’s relatives went to the MNS office asking for Halmurad’s release as he needed further treatment. The officers on duty, however, at first denied his detention. Furthermore, these same officers were unable to confirm the names of the MNS officers who had ‘visited’ the Gylychdurdievs and telephoned Halmurad; they could only verify the surname of the officer Berdiev. His first name, as it turned out, was fictitious. The name of Dovletmurad Karayev allegedly was not on the list of the MNS officers at all. The relatives waited in the duty unit of the MNS till late at night when they finally heard from the officer on duty:” The interview is still in progress”. No other explanations were given.

Guluchdurdiev’s wife wants to send a written complaint to the appropriate bodies.

Background information. Halmurad Gylychdurdiyev is a higher education specialist with 40 years of experience in filming gained at the Alty Karliyev film studio. After the film studio was closed down he had to arrange his private film studio. He made several documentary films, including one about Chary Hanamov, the Socialist Labour Hero and some other documentaries about the rural Turkmenistan.

Some years ago Gylychdurdiev made repeated appeals to all banks and appropriate institutions in Turkmenistan asking them to assist in exchanging the local currency for US Dollars - for the films to be shown it was necessary to finish them in one of the Russian film studios. However, “he was not even listened to; he was knocking on a closed door “. Gylychdurdiev appealed to legal bodies against the unlawful refusal of the Turkmen officials.

Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation

24 june 2004

Posted by admin on 2004/7/13 15:29:00 (1631 reads)

Inhabitants of another three streets in Keshi were issued with house demolition orders. As a result, on 12 July, the women from these families also tried to appeal to the UN Representatives. However, THF does not have information whether they have managed to see any of the staff. The same evening some of these women were taken to the police. One man tried to stand up for them, but he was also taken to the police. There has been no information about what happened to the detained people as yet. As witnesses report, the people were forcibly put into the cars, although they strongly objected.

Moreover, in the morning of 12 July, policeman Yazmamedov, together with one of the staff from the department No 6 of the Niyazov district, visited the families who had already been issued the demolition orders and handed them other orders ‘inviting’ them to attend a so-called meeting at 9 p.m. in the district police station. However, only some of the people attended the meeting. According to the witnesses, who were at the police station where the meeting was held, they could hear the people’s voices of indignation and dissatisfaction at the authorities’ behaviour, which has led to a further deterioration in people’s social conditions.

Some of the inhabitants were reportedly issued the orders instructing them to “report to the administration No 6 of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Turkmenistan at 9 a.m. at 34 Asudalyk Street, office No 88”. The people are to report on different dates and, as the orders specifically state, it is mandatory to bring with them their passports.

Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation

13 July 2004

Posted by admin on 2004/7/11 22:16:00 (2121 reads)

In September 2000 Akbibi Hemrayeva (d.o.b. – 29.04.1978) started her employment with the personnel department of the Customs Service of “Turkmenistan Airlines” at Ashgabat International airport. Some time later, due to the forthcoming celebration of the next Independence anniversary, Akbibi got a promotion – she was appointed a senior inspector of the personnel department, and, afterwards, on 28 September 2003 – a senior inspector of the Cargo Transportation department.

Ms A.Hemrayeva reports: “At work I had a reputation as a being an independent minded person and I could not refrain from making comments on the deteriorating situation in Turkmenistan. I took all possible steps not to make an oath of loyalty to president, as, for Turkmens, it is considered to be blasphemous to wish anyone, especially yourself, “let my hand be paralyzed, let my tongue be numb, let my breath stop”. Some of my colleagues blamed me for not being a true patriot of Turkmenistan. Others thought I was insane. At first my superiors threatened me and then, as was there usual practice, accused me of taking bribes. Some of my colleagues stood up for me and even signed some evidence affirming my innocence.

On 25 February 2004 Akbibi Hemrayeva was sacked from her job. On 27 February 2004 the information about her was handed over to the office of public prosecutor and a criminal case was brought against her. Having learnt this fact, Akbibi Hemrayeva left the country on 3 March this year and claimed asylum in Turkey.

Currently the case of Ms Hemrayeva is in the hands of the Ministry of National Security of Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan authorities are accusing her of the following three offences: falsification of documents, bribe-taking, bribe-taking with a group of people. The ‘group of people’ included the employees, who stood up for her (junior technical staff). As a result, they were all sacked from their jobs. Being afraid of the repressions, these people had also to leave the country for Uzbekistan. Ms Hemrayeva believes that she might be at risk of up to 15 years of imprisonment.

Akbibi also told us that after she fled the country, security services started harassing her relatives. They were not allowed to talk on the phone. MNB agents as well as the staff of the public prosecutor’s office came to see her six brothers and their families daily and put them under psychological pressure. They are threatening at least to sack them. They insist that unless Ms A.Hemrayeva returned by the beginning of June, she would be on the list of ‘wanted’ people.

We hope that the Turkish authorities to whom Ms Hemrayeva appealed for protection are informed that Turkmenistan is ‘well-known’ for its egregious human rights violations, lack of transparent legal proceedings, convictions of innocent people and use of increasingly brutal and inventive means of torture. It is also well-known that Turkmenistan authorities are intolerant to any dissent and fabricate cases in order to persecute critically minded people.

Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation

11 june 2004

Posted by admin on 2004/6/3 22:17:00 (1616 reads)

Statement of the Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights to the Secretary General of the United Nations

M ay 31, 2004

Dear Mr. Secretary General,

We would like to bring to your attention the following statement regarding the consideration and adoption during the 60th session of the Commission on Human Rights of the resolution entitled “The Situation of Human Rights in Turkmenistan” and the official response to it from the Turkmenistan government.

The Human Rights Commission resolution and the response to it from the Turkmen Foreign Ministry are based on completely opposite premises. The United Nations regards as of paramount importance human rights violations, which are regularly reported by Turkmen citizens who have suffered from them. Meanwhile, the Turkmen Foreign Ministry selectively pulls out from international reports on the situation parts where it shows that Turkmenistan is on the road to democracy and is willing to adopt democratic measures of its own. Yet, the Turkmen side has not reacted at all to the concerns of the international community and human rights organizations which are constantly ringing bells of alarm about the violations of human rights in Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan has not once deigned to respond to numerous cases of violations against freedom of conscience, unlawful detention, and persecution against religious groups and relatives of the convicted.

The Foreign Ministry complains about the absence in the resolution of concrete facts of human rights abuses in Turkmenistan. We are disappointed that this organization does not contact human rights organizations that systematically carry out human rights monitoring. Since the standard procedure, evidently, did not allow the Commission to describe in greater detail all known cases of human rights violations in Turkmenistan, the Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation listed its own short account of just a few of them.

On the abolishment of the death penalty

Undoubtedly, the abolishment of the death penalty is a positive step of Turkmenistan. However, the agonizing conditions of Turkmen prisoners in and of themselves lead to death, as is the case with Hoshgeldi Garaev and Hayit Kakaev. Turkmenistan did not confirm nor deny the deaths of Khallyiev T. and Yklymov A.

On political prisoners and prisoners of conscience:

Up until now, citizens who are believed to be political prisoners or prisoners of conscience have been serving sentences. Among them include Aimuradov M., Atakov, S, Babadzhanov R, Zakirov R, Matveev A, Mitogorov S, Nazyrov R, Satlyikov R, Shelekhov N. The Turkmen government has not responded to any appeals from human rights organization for these people. Only as a result of enormous international pressure was prisoner of conscience Farid Tukhbatulin released.

On free speech

There are no possibilities for impartial journalists to work in Turkmenistan. Journalists S.Ovezberdyiev, M. Berdyiev, S. Berdyiev were repeatedly subjected to persecution and beatings. Others who were subject to persecution include R. Esenov, A. Bairiev, as well as the son-in-law of R. Esenov, I. Kaprielov. Resident of Nebit-Dag G. Durdyikuliev, sentenced for conducting a peaceful demonstration, was violently thrown in a psychiatric hospital. Accredited independent foreign journalists are absent.

On prison conditions

Human rights organizations give thorough examples of inhumane treatment of detainees, prisoners. Yet the Turkmen authorities do not consider it necessary to end abuses of these people.

Thousands of people suffer from the Turkmen government’s wanton practice of persecuting relatives of the suspected and convicted criminals. The mass arrests following the alleged assassination attempt against President Niyazov is a case in point. (Examples of these well known arrests were contained in the report compiled by OSCE Special Rapporteur Emmanuel Decaux). Turkmenistan refused to discuss any of the convictions connected with November 25 incident and members of the family subjected to torture and psychotropic means were also fundamental issues contained in Decaux’s report.

Regarding the ban on arbitrary search in homes

This ban remained only on paper. Despite the fact that the Constitution of Turkmenistan declares that “no one has the right to enter into homes… against the will of the resident,” we have many cases of intrusion by government officials, with the purpose of searching the apartments of citizens. State officials harshly and cynically insulted, beat up and threatened citizens; searches were conducted in violation of the law.

On amnesties

Not one political prisoner, prisoner of conscience or individual convicted of fabricated charges was on the list of pardons.

On opposition and political parties

In Turkmenistan only one political party exists. The Turkmen opposition must operate in exile. Persecution of individuals declaring themselves part of the opposition or wishing to form their own party is never ending. In an interview with Izvestia newspaper, Martti Ahtisaari said: “nothing and no one should interfere with what the opposition wishes to do. Unfortunately, at present it is an authoritarian regime. Lots of work lies ahead for the OSCE.”

NGOs and Religions

The human rights groups Turkmenistan Helsinki Initiative and Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation must operate in exile. Not only representatives of international human rights organizations, but also members of the Turkmenistan human rights groups are completely deprived of the possibility of working inside the country. In November 2003, the “Dashoguz Ecological Club” was closed by the decision of the city court. In April 2004, the Justice Ministry notified the “Catena Ecological Club” that its registration was rejected.

Up until now, groundless limitations on religious activities have not been revoked, including the complicated registration procedures, a ban on conducting religious meetings, participation in unregistered religious groups, and so on. Persecution and detention of pious citizens continue. Twelve people were fined by the Nebit-Dag city police. Not a single religious community after the relaxing of registration rules has been able to register. And even the Protestant church “Great Grace,” located in the capital Ashgabat, which had applied to register three weeks from the time of the easing of the rules, has so far not received a response to its request.

Freedom of movement

Turkmenistan did not confirm or deny an existence of “black lists” with the names of thousands of citizens who have been deprived to move freely. S. Begmedov has been persecuted and exiled twice from Ashgabat to Dashoguz. International human rights observers and journalists still can not get entry visas.

Regarding Willingness to Collaborate

Turkmenistan does not observe international human rights obligations it has ratified at the United Nations and as a member state of the OSCE. In light of the growing human rights crisis after the November 25 incident, ten OSCE member states authorized Emmanuel Decaux to elucidate a number of disturbing questions regarding the investigation following the alleged assassination attempt on President Niyazov. Turkmen authorities refused to cooperate with the OSCE and did not allow the rapporteur and members of the commission into the country. Moreover, the OSCE representative expressed his displeasure that Turkmenistan did not appoint an expert of its own.

The OSCE Chairman in Office’s Envoy for Central Asia, Martti Ahtisaari remained upset with the human rights situation in Turkmenistan.

At the meeting with other high level representatives and delegations of international organizations, as well as with Solomon Passy April 8-9, 2004, not one word was mentioned about the human rights violations in Turkmenistan. Nor was anything said about the necessity of reforms to correct the situation, the willingness of Turkmenistan to implement the UN and OSCE resolutions, the position of the Turkmen government regarding the necessity of political transparency and independent mass media, and the realistic steps needed to make the Turkmen leadership improve the atmosphere for registration and ensure unimpeded NGO activity in the country.

Currently the Turkmen government has not demonstrated the political will to the existing recommendations made by the international community.

We would be grateful to you for the distribution of this statement as a document under Agenda Item 117 (c) at the General Assembly.


Tadjigul Begmedova

Representative of the Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

03 june 2004

Posted by admin on 2004/5/14 22:19:00 (1693 reads)

To the Ambassador of Ashkabat

Through the US Embassy in Ankara

Your Excellency,

We would like your assistance as the ambassador of a country, which protects democracy and human rights in the world.

My name is Nazar Bayhanov, who was born in 1964 and who is a national of Turkmenistan. I currently reside in Ashkabat. I would like to draw your attention to the present human rights violations in Turkmenistan, to painful realities currently experienced in prisons in Turkmenistan and to arbitrary arrests. My elder brother Akmuhammet Bayramovich Bayhanov was arrested on June 18, 2003 and although totally innocent, he was sentenced to five years in prison in line with the 120/1 article of the Turkmenistan Criminal Code at a closed trial on September 13, 2003. Akmuhammet Bayhanov is currently held at the 12th prison in the Turkmen town of Seydi in Lebap province since his transfer in February 2004. Although the detention center is not a closed prison, officials do not allow us to meet my brother Akmuhammet Bayhanov for a very long time. They said that the reason for not allowing us to visit my brother was that Akmuhammet Bayhanov was twice locked up in a cell. When he was in the cell for the second time, Akmuhammet Bayhanov was subjected to torture and as a result, his spine was damaged.

All ill treatment including torture, solitary confinement, beatings, threats and belittling acts, which my brother Akmuhammet Bayhanov is subjected to, is done at the personal orders of Turkmenistan’s president Niyazov. The reason is in fact the assistance sought by the relatives of Akmuhammet Bayhanov from international human rights organizations to correct the injustices done to Akmuhammet Bayhanov. I was warned or rather threatened by officials of Turkmenistan’s National Security Ministry on December 18, 2003 that if I informed the world public opinion and international organizations of the human rights violations against Akmuhammet Bayhanov, his situation would worsen. The current developments reveal that they translate into life their threats.

My younger brother Dowlet Bayhanov asked the help of all international human rights organizations through the Freedom Radio in the beginning of April. Following this, our brother Akmuhammet Bayhanov has started to be treated even worse.

I know that not only my brother Akmuhammet Bayhanov but also other prisoners at Turkmen detention centers are subjected to ill treatment and I can personally inform the pertinent international organizations of these conducts.

I urge you not to misunderstand my application to you. I only ask your help regarding my brother Akmuhammet Bayhanov, who was arrested although he was innocent and who is experiencing a grave situation in the prison. We totally believe that you will be of help in our struggle at international platforms to prove Akmuhammet Bayhanov’s innocence.

Yours sincerely,

Nazar Bayhanov, telephone number : +99 312 48 89 88 / 48 89 80 Ashkabat, Turkmenistan

Dowlet Bayhanov, telephone number : +90 312 490 87 26 (home) +90 535 567 35 72 (mobile)

14 May 2004

Posted by admin on 2003/8/20 22:20:00 (1718 reads)

The Bulgaria-based branch of the Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights held its first session in Sofia on Tuesday.

The branch comprises 16 people including "nine Turkmens, some of whom live in Turkmenistan. For safety reasons, we cannot disclose their names. They act under pseudonyms," Turkmen Helsinki Foundation Chairman Kadzhigul Bekmetova told the Kommersant newspaper in an interview published on Wednesday.

"Our objective is to protect human rights in Turkmenistan. We will brief the world community on developments there and accumulate facts. The world should know the real picture," Bekmetova noted.

Efforts have been made to compile lists of "Turkmen political prisoners and their relatives who are being severely persecuted," she noted.

"Since Boris Shikhmuradov was thrown in jail, Turkmen authorities have ignored all queries about his health and he has been denied a meeting with his lawyer. We do not know what is happening to him," she said.

"It's time to drastically change the situation. The state of affairs in Turkmenistan is no secret to anyone. There is only one party there, no other media but the state-owned ones that misrepresent everything, and the law enforcement and judicial agencies that are the worst violators of human rights," she said.

Interfax News Agency
August 20, 2003

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