Turkmen Prisoners Are Released
Annakurban Amanklychev and Sapardurdy Khajiev were released from a Turkmen prison on February 16 after serving seven-year prison terms on charges of "illegal acquisition, possession or sale of firearms or ammunition," the Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation (THF) reports.
The two were arrested in 2006 after assisting the production of a documentary about Turkmenistan for the French state-run France 2 TV channel, and for providing THF information about the country's human rights situation.
They were originally accused of spying for Western intelligence agencies. Media rights groups have consistently rejected all charges against them as fabricated.
, 58, a correspondent for RFE/RL's Turkmen service, was convicted at the same time in a closed court proceeding and later died in prison.
U.S./BBG - BBG Memorial To Slain Journalists, Wilbur J. Cohen building, Washington, DC, 16Jul2008
Muradova's adult children, who were able to see her body at the morgue, told RFE/RL that they had observed a large wound on her head, suggesting that she had been tortured. THF claimed that bruises found on her neck provided additional evidence of violence and torture, and called her death a "political assassination.
A relative told RFE/RL that security officials at the morgue assured the family that Muradova died of natural causes and denied any wrongdoing.
International human rights groups and organizations
expressed suspicion about Muradova's death and condemned the trials that resulted in the three convictions as secretive and lacking due process guarantees. They repeatedly called on Turkmen authorities to investigate Muradova's death and release Amanklychev and Khajiev.
To date, no inquiry has been conducted, and the precise time Muradova died, as well as the identification of the prison she was in, remain unknown.