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Exiled Turkmen journalist Chary Annamuradov (file photo)

Human Rights Watch (HRW) says the brother of an exiled Turkmen dissident journalist died on September 4, four days after he was kidnapped and beaten by unknown assailants in Turkmenistan.

In an October 17 statement, the U.S.-based rights group urged Turkmenistan's government to investigate the death of Altymurad Annamuradov.

At the time of Annamuradov's death, his brother Chary Annamuradov was being held by authorities in Belarus under an extradition request from Turkmenistan that was filed in 2000 for what Human Rights Watch has described as "politically motivated" criminal fraud charges.

On September 14, Belarusian authorities released the 58-year-old Chary Annamuradov and allowed him to return to Sweden, where he had been granted political asylum in 2003.

Human Rights Watch said it only recently became aware of Alymurad Annamuradov's death.

It said his kidnapping and death "smacks of targeted retaliation against a political dissident."

Three of Chary Annamuradov's other brothers died under suspicious circumstances within a year after he fled Turkmenistan in 1999.

The 52-year-old Altymurad Annamuradov -- a father of five -- was the dissident journalist's last living brother.

U.S.-based cleric Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen (file photo)

Turkish-Kazakh schools across Kazakhstan are being renamed amid a campaign by Turkey against the exiled Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.

The Turkish-Kazakh schools were co-founded by Gulen's Hizmet movement and his followers and have been functioning in Kazakhstan since early 1990s.

One of the other sponsors of the 33 Turkish-Kazakh schools in Kazakhstan, the KATEV Foundation, said on October 18 that the schools are to be renamed as "Bilim" (Education) Innovative Lyceums.

KATEV said the schools were being renamed to honor the 25th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s independence from the former Soviet Union, which will be celebrated on December 16.

Gulen, who is living in self-imposed exile in the United States, is accused by Ankara of ordering a July 15 attempted coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by a group of the cleric's followers within Turkey's military.

Gulen has repeatedly denied the accusation.

Washington has so-far refused calls by Erdogan to extradite Gulen from the United States, saying Turkey must provide solid evidence that he played a role in the coup in support of a formal extradition request.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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