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Turkmen Activist Forcibly Committed To Psychiatric Care

Turkmen activist Amangelen Shapudakov was last seen by neighbors on March 7.

Turkmen activist Amangelen Shapudakov was last seen by neighbors on March 7.

An elderly civic activist in western Turkmenistan is being confined by authorities to a psychiatric hospital, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reports.

A resident of the village of Sakgar in the district of Magtymguly told RFE/RL that 80-year-old Amangelen Shapudakov was called to the local police department on March 7 and has not been seen since.

A Magtymguly district police official initially confirmed that Shapudakov was detained by police but later denied it. However, a second police official subsequently confirmed that Shapudakov was being kept at a psychiatric hospital.

It is not known exactly when he was institutionalized or where.

A Turkmen Interior Ministry spokesperson told RFE/RL on March 29 that the ministry had no information about Shapudakov.

Shapudakov had told RFE/RL that he had written to state bodies to inform them about harassment he has faced from local authorities because of his views on corruption in his region.

Shapudakov also said he was temporarily detained at Ashgabat's Kopetdag district police department on February 5, after he appealed to international organizations and foreign embassies that he was being pressured by Turkmen authorities.

Shapudakov reportedly suffers from diabetes and hypertension but is not known to have suffered from any psychological disorders.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) office in Ashgabat declined to comment on the case.