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UNHCR 'Very Disturbed' By Death Of RFE/RL Correspondent

Muradova at her son's wedding in 2004 (Courtesy Photo) September 15, 2006 -- The UN's human rights office says it is "very disturbed" by the death in custody of RFE/RL Turkmen Service correspondent Ogulsapar Muradova.

Jose Diaz, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR), said the office is calling on Turkmen authorities to conduct a "thorough, prompt, and independent investigation into the cause" of Muradova's death.

Muradova's children were notified of their mother's death on September 14.

Turkmen security officials said she died of natural causes, but rights groups and relatives say she may have been killed.

Relatives who eventually saw the body have been quoted as saying it bore signs of violence.

A Turkmen court sentenced Muradova and two codefendants in August to up to seven years in jail following a 10-minute trial that rights groups have dismissed as a travesty of justice.

Rights groups including Amnesty International have also demanded a probe into Muradova's death.

The U.S. agency that oversees RFE/RL broadcasts, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, has also called for a full and "transparent" investigation.


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