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OSCE Urged To Push For Release Of Turkmen Dissident

(RFE/RL) PRAGUE, August 31, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) is calling on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to take up the case of a jailed dissident with Turkmen authorities.

The head of the IHF, Aaron Rhodes, says the case of Kakabai Tedjenov, a 70-year-old pensioner who has been kept in forced psychiatric detention for eight months, illustrates Turkmenistan's continued violation of freedom of expression.

In an open letter to the OSCE's chairman, Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht, Rhodes calls on De Gucht to discuss Tedjenov's case "with the relevant Turkmen authorities and to push for making information on the case more readily accessible."

A vocal critic of Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov, Tedjenov was detained in early January and taken to a psychiatric hospital. The official reason remains unknown.

Prior to his detention, he had sent letters of protest to government authorities, criticizing their policies.

The Turkmen delegation to the OSCE denies Tedjenov has been detained or sent to a psychiatric hospital.

But Rhodes says his group has obtained information showing that Tedjenov has been moved from one psychiatric hospital to another, sometimes being confined in custody with murderers, or in cells "for those with no relatives to care for or visit them."