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RSF Calls For Immediate Release Of RFE/RL Reporter

(RFE/RL) PRAGUE, June 23, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has called for the immediate release of RFE/RL's Turkmen Service correspondent Ogulsapar Muradova, her three children, and another three people who were arrested in Ashgabat recently.

RSF says in statement issued on June 22 that those arrests "are totally illegal" and testify to the "lack of respect for the rule of law in Turkmenistan."

Muradova was arrested on June 18 and brought to the National Security Ministry. Her three adult children were taken into custody the following day without explanation.

Also arrested last week were two members of the Bulgarian-based Turkmen Helsinki Foundation (THF) rights group, Annakurban Amanklychev and Yelena Ovezova. Sapardurdy Khajiev, a relative of THF Chairwoman Tajigul Begmedova, was also detained without charges.

Turkmen authorities this week claimed to have foiled an alleged THF-sponsored plot to destabilize the country.