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Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov ranks among the heads of the most repressive countries.
Freedom House, an international independent organization monitoring democracy and human rights, today released its report titled "Worst of the Worst: The World's Most Repressive Societies."

Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan joined countries Burma, North Korea, and Somalia on the list of the 10 worst countries in the world.

In a press release, the organization's director of advocacy, Paul Schriefer, said the list reflects Freedom House's views of "countries where individuals have almost no opportunity to enjoy the most fundamental rights; regimes whose people experience heavy penalties for independent thought or action, and where little or no opposition activity is permitted to exist."

A list of eight countries that scored only slightly better than the "worst of the worst" included Belarus, China, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia.
Police detain an opposition protester during a rally in Moscow on May 31.
The Russian opposition youth movement My (We) is demanding justice for journalist Aleksandr Artemyev, who was injured when police violently dispersed an opposition protest this week, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The movement released a statement today addressed to the Moscow city prosecutor urging him to investigate the case and punish the police officers involved.

Artemyev works for the online news portal gazeta.ru. He was among some 150 protesters detained by police on May 31 on Moscow's Triumfalnaya (Triumph) Square.

Artemyev says one of his arms was broken in several places when police took him into custody. Police did not confirm that.

The mass gathering on May 31 was not sanctioned by the Moscow authorities.

Russian ombudsman Vladimir Lukin said today that the police acted illegally in dealing with the demonstrators. Lukin added that he has suspended a memorandum on cooperation with the Russian Interior Ministry.

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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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