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Family Of Late RFE/RL Reporter Incommunicado

Ogulsapar Muradova at the wedding party of her son, in 2004 (Courtesy Photo) PRAGUE, September 20, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- A U.S.-based nongovernmental organization says Turkmen authorities have are preventing the relatives of late RFE/RL's Turkmen Service correspondent Ogulsapar Muradova from communicating with the rest of the world.

Erika Dailey, who heads a Turkmenistan projected run by the Open Society Institute, told RFE/RL that the measures even apply to members of Muradova's extended family living far from the capital, Ashgabat.

Dailey said, "there has been no opportunity to communicate with [Muradova's] children since September 15, after which the authorities cut their phone lines -- and not only their phone lines, but the phone lines of the extended family, reaching as far as Dashoowuz and Nebit-Dag."

Her children were notified of her death on September 14.

Muradova died while serving a six-year prison sentence on charges rights groups have described as trumped up. Muradova was sentenced on August 25 after a closed trial that lasted just a few minutes.

Turkmen security officials claim Muradova died of natural causes, but friends and relatives suspect foul play.

Western rights groups and international organizations have called upon Turkmen authorities to fully and fairly investigate Muradova's death.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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