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AI Denounces Turkmen Convictions Of Activists, RFE/RL Journalist

August 31, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The London-based rights group Amnesty International (AI) has condemned the recent convictions by a Turkmen court of two human rights campaigners and an RFE/RL reporter.

The group says in a statement posted on its website that there are "strong" and "credible" indications that the charges brought against the defendants "were fabricated to punish them for their human rights activities."

An Ashgabat court sentenced Annakurban Amanklychev and Sapardurdy Khajiev, two members of the exiled Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (THF), to seven years in jail on August 25 on charges of illegally possessing ammunitions.

The same court sentenced RFE/RL Turkmen Service correspondent Ogulsapar Muradova to six years in prison on similar charges.

Amnesty International says it is concerned by reports that defense lawyers were not given the indictment before the trial started and that no observers or relatives were allowed into the courtroom.

It also urges Turkmen authorities to investigate reports that the three were ill treated in detention.