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Turkmenistan Detains RFE/RL Reporter

RFE/RL Turkmen Service correspondent Rovshen Yazmuhamedov

RFE/RL Turkmen Service correspondent Rovshen Yazmuhamedov

Rovshen Yazmuhamedov, a correspondent with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's (RFE/RL) Turkmen Service, was taken into police custody on Monday, May 6, in Turkmenabat, a city in Turkmenistan's Lebap province.

According to his mother, who spoke to RFE/RL from Turkmenistan today, he is currently in the Interior Ministry's Department No. 6, which handles cases related to organized crime and terrorism.

No official charges have yet been brought against Mr. Yazmuhamedov, although authorities told his mother yesterday that criminal charges are possible.

Today, surveillance cameras were installed around the apartment that Yazmuhamedov shared with his mother, RFE/RL's Turkmen service reports.

Yazmuhamedov's reports have focused on social issues. A recent account of a young woman who was barred from school because of her head scarf generated extensive discussion among Azatlyk Radiosy's audience. Another report about the sale of pork in halal shops, which adhere to Muslim dietary codes, also elicited strong reactions from listeners.

Yazmuhamedov, 30, who used the broadcast name of Rovshen Chariyev, has worked for the Turkmen Service, or Azatlyk Radiosy as it is known locally, since September 2012.

He has been questioned by security agencies of Turkmenistan several times in the past, his mother told RFE/RL.

RFE/RL has recorded at least two cases in recent years in which individuals associated with RFE/RL were arrested or otherwise subjected to rights abuses on grounds widely believed to be fabricated.

Dovlet Yazkuliyev was imprisoned in 2011 after a bogus trial on charges of family-related violence that he believes were concocted in retaliation for his reporting on an explosion in the town of Abadan. Earlier that year, Amangelen Shapudakov was forcibly confined to a psychiatric facility after criticizing a local official in an interview with RFE/RL's Turkmen service.