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Turkmenistan24 August 2006

Three journalists and activists to go on trial tomorrow

The trial of three journalists and human right activists held since mid-June, Annakurban Amanklychev, Ogulsapar Muradova and Sapardurdy Khajiyev, will begin at 10 a.m. tomorrow.

The court provided no additional information.

Reporters Without Borders has called for their immediate release.

23 August 2006

Call for release of three journalists and human rights activists whose trials seem imminent

(JPEG) Reporters Without Borders today reiterated its call for the “immediate and unconditional” release of three journalists and human rights activists after receiving information that their trials appear to be imminent. Annakurban Amanklychev (photo), Ogulsapar Muradova and Sapardurdy Khajiyev have been held since June.

“We are appalled by the attitude of the Turkmen authorities, who are flouting the basic rules of justice and human rights with impunity,” the press freedom organisation said. “We are very worried about the coming trials. The defendants have not even been able to see their lawyers and there has been a complete lack of transparency and due process in the preparation of the prosecution case.”

According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the authorities transferred Muradova’s case to the Ashgabat municipal court. Khajiyev’s trial on a charge of “possessing an illegal weapon” is due to being on 25 August. The charges against Muradova and Amanklychev, a contributor to the French production company Galaxie-Presse, and the dates of their trials are not yet known but their relatives believe they could also start before the end of the month.

Muradova, who is Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty’s correspondent in Turkmenistan, has on two occasions been allowed to receive the food and medicine sent by her family, but her lawyer has never been able to see her.

All three are International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights activists. They were taken to the headquarters of the national security ministry (the former KGB office) following their arrests between 16 and 18 June. They appear to be facing long prison sentences.

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