Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders Annual Report 2006 - Turkmenistan
|Publisher||International Federation for Human Rights|
|Publication Date||14 March 2007|
|Cite as||International Federation for Human Rights, Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders Annual Report 2006 - Turkmenistan, 14 March 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48747ceec.html [accessed 28 July 2014]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Death in detention of Ms. Ogulsapar Muradova and arbitrary detention of Mr. Annakurban Amanklychev and Mr. Sapardurdy Khajiev66
On June 16, 2006, Mr. Annakurban Amanklychev, an independent journalist and member of the Bulgaria-based Turkmen Helsinki Foundation (THF), was arrested while working on a documentary with two French production companies on the deterioration of the health and education systems in Turkmenistan and on the personality cult of the President of the Republic.
On June 18, 2006, Mr. Sapardurdy Khajiev, a THF member, and Ms. Ogulsapar Muradova, a reporter for Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and a former THF member, were arrested at their homes.
On June 19, 2006, several official representatives, including the President of the Republic and the Minister for National Security, publicly accused them of "conspiring with foreigners to destabilise the State".
All three of them were held incommunicado for over two months, during which they were subjected to ill-treatment.
On August 25, 2006, Ms. Ogulsapar Muradova, Mr. Annakurban Amanklychev and Mr. Sapardurdy Khajiev were sentenced by the Azatlyk District Court in Ashgabat to six and seven years in prison and seven years in a high-security prison respectively. They were convicted of "illegal possession of ammunitions" (Article 287-2 of the Criminal Code) on the basis of statements by police officers who allegedly found weapons in Mr. Amanklychev's car. They were never notified of the charges against them.
The trial was held in camera and lasted only a few minutes. The lawyers were denied access to the Court, as they were turned back by soldiers just before the hearing when trying to meet their clients. In addition, the Court and the nearby streets had been cordoned off by armed soldiers in order to prevent the defendants' relatives and lawyers from accessing the Court.
The three defenders appealed against their conviction on August 29 and 30, 2006.
On September 14, 2006, Ms. Ogulsapar Muradova's relatives were informed of her death. During the identification of the body in the morgue, the authorities declared that she had died from natural causes although her whole body bore visible marks of violence.
The circumstances of Ms. Muradova's death remained unclear in late 2006 and it is feared that her death was the result of acts of torture or ill-treatment.
Furthermore, since that date, Ms. Muradova's relatives have been constantly harassed by the authorities. For instance, police officers attempted to dissuade her children from attending her funeral and placed their houses and movements under constant surveillance. They were forbidden any contact with foreign countries and their telephone lines were cut.
[Refworld note: This report as posted on the FIDH website (www.fidh.org) was in pdf format with country chapters run together by region. Footnote numbers have been retained here, so do not necessarily begin at 1.]
66. See Urgent Appeals TKM 001/0806/OBS 103, 103.1 and 103.2.