Afrique Ameriques Asie Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
Turkmenistan8 January 2009

RFE/RL provincial correspondents harassed and threatened by intelligence officers

Reporters Without Borders is very worried by the harassment of two Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty correspondents in Turkmenistan. Dovletmurat Yazguliev and Osman Hallyev, who report for RFE/RL’s Turkmen service from the provinces, have both been subjected to threats and intimidation by local intelligence officers in the last two weeks.

“Similar situations in the past have ended tragically, so we urge President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov to intervene at once,” Reporters Without Borders said. “If this has been done at the initiative of local officials, they must be brought to order. If not, we reiterate our appeal to the president to order the Turkmen security apparatus to stop treating journalists as enemies and criminals.”

An RFE/RL correspondent since September 2006, Hallyev has been under virtual house arrest in the northeastern province of Lebap since the start of January after being held for several hours in the provincial jail. He said he notified the local prosecutor’s office about his plight without getting any response.

Osman Hallyev

Hallyev was already subjected to harassment last month while covering Turkmenistan’s parliamentary elections. Several close relatives have lost their jobs as a result of his complaints, his phone lines have been cut and his personal Internet connection is hardly working.

Yazguliev, who has been reporting for RFE/RL from the eastern province of Akhal since October, said he and his wife were summoned at the end of last month to a local government office where intelligence officers questioned him about his work. They threatened him with reprisals if he did not stop working for RFE/RL, which is based in Prague and is financed by the US government. He says he intends to continue reporting for RFE/RL for the time being.

One of RFE/RL’s provincial correspondents in Turkmenistan, Sazak Durdymuradov, was arrested by intelligence officers on 20 June and was tortured while held for two weeks.

Reporters Without Borders wrote to President Berdymukhammedov on 11 December urging him to take Turkmenistan down the road of democratisation. Turkmenistan was ranked 171st out of 173 countries in the 2008 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

  In this country
18 February - Turkmenistan
Details of jail where two journalists have been held for past two and a half years
4 February - Turkmenistan
In joint open letter, eight NGOs urge president to include imprisoned journalists in amnesty
12 December - Turkmenistan
Increased harassment of Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty correspondents in run-up to parliamentary elections
1 October - Turkmenistan
Incomprehension at UN Human Rights Council’s refusal to name special rapporteur for Turkmenistan
18 September - Turkmenistan
Reporters Without Borders occupy Turkmen embassy during EU / Central Asia summit in Paris

in the annual report
Turkmenistan - Annual Report 2008
Turkmenistan - Annual report 2007
Turkmenistan - 2006 Annual report

Europe press releases
4 June - Kosovo
Rrokum TV station still excluded by national broadcasting network
2 June - Ukraine
Potential witness’s death deals severe blow to probe into journalist’s murder
2 June - Turkey
Woman journalist held for past five weeks on baseless charge of link to armed group
2 June - Russia
Journalist seeks asylum in Finland after being convicted for prison torture articles
29 May - France
Regrettable decision by appeal court to lift ban on magazine only if offending photo is covered up

5 February 2009 - Bulgaria
“Resignation or resistance, Bulgaria’s embattled press hesitates”
28 January 2009 - Russia
Fact-finding visit : Moscow double murder may have been linked to November attack on local newspaper editor
27 June 2008 - Turkey
Investigation report into the detention of journalist Haci Bogatekin, imprisoned for more than two months and facing ten and a half years in prison

Sign the petitions
Jusuf Ruzimuradov

Europe archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives