More than 80 judges, defense lawyers, and representatives from prosecutor's offices in Turkmenistan participated in a just-completed series of judicial seminars in four cities across the country.
The seminars were organized by the OSCE
Center in Ashgabat in cooperation with the Turkmen Foreign Ministry and the National Institute for Democracy and Human Rights.
The subject of the seminars focused on international human rights standards as they relate to the treatment of the accused from arrest to trial. Sessions were held on freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention and the right to fair trial. The seminars also included a moot court case in which participants applied the standards under discussion.
Despite some "modest improvements" noted in the last year or so, under President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor -- in its latest report
-- criticized Turkmenistan for its poor rights record, including the torture and mistreatment of detainees; incommunicado and prolonged detention; arbitrary arrest and detention; house arrest; and denial of due process and a fair trial.