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Turkmenistan's 'Iron Lady' Steps Down

Statue to Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov in the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat (file photo) (epa) April 11, 2006 -- Turkmenistan's prosecutor-general, Gurbanbibi Atajanov, says she is retiring for health reasons.

The 58-year-old Atajanova had served as prosecutor-general since 1997. She became known within Turkmenistan as the "Iron Lady" for her role in prosecuting President Saparmurat Niyazov's opponents after an alleged assassination attempt on him in 2002. She also prosecuted several officials who were jailed in a recent anticorruption drive.

In 2003, Atajanova was reportedly placed under house arrest after being implicated in drug dealing. She later returned to her post, however. The details of the incident remain unclear.

Muhammetguly Ogshukov, who had been serving as first deputy prosecutor-general, has been appointed as her successor.

(AP, Interfax, BBC Monitoring)

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