Khakiev's sister, Ogulsapar Muradova, died in prison last year (Courtesy Photo)
April 12, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Human Rights Watch says Bulgaria must deny Turkmenistan's extradition request for Turkmen dissident Annadurdy Khajiev and release him from detention immediately.
The call comes as the extradition hearing starts today in the Black Sea port city of Varna.
The New York-based group says Khajiev will risk "persecution and torture" if he is sent back to Turkmenistan.
Khajiev, a former senior Turkmen Central Bank official, was arrested on February 19 in Varna on embezzlement charges following notification by Interpol. His supporters say the charges were politically motivated.
Khajiev is a senior member of the exiled opposition Watan party whose sister, RFE/RL correspondent Ogulsapar Muradova, died in a Turkmen jail in 2006 after a trial described by international human rights groups as unfair.
Tajigul Begmedova speaking at RFE/RL in Prague on July 21 (RFE/RL)
LIFE UNDER NIYAZOV:
On July 21, RFE/RL's Prague broadcasting center hosted a presentation by TAJIGUL BEGMEDOVA,
chairwoman of the Bulgaria-based Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (THF). Begmedova discussed the human rights situation in Turkmenistan under President Saparmural Niyazov, focusing on the arrests in June of THF activists and RFE/RL Turkmen Service correspondent Ogulsapar Muradova. Begmedova, who graduated from the Institute of Economy in Moscow in 1987, fled Turkmenistan in 2002 and lives in exile in Sofia.
LISTEN Listen to the complete presentation (36 minutes; presentation in Russian with consecutive translation into English):
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Some RFE/RL Coverage Of Human Rights In Turkmenistan:
Media Coverage Of Leader Distracts From Real Problems
Authorities Cast Wide Net In Conspiracy Allegations
Embattled Turkmen Writer Honored Abroad
RFE/RL Correspondent Recounts Arrest
ARCHIVE RFE/RL coverage of Turkmenistan.
THE COMPLETE STORY: Click on the icon to view a dedicated webpage bringing together all of RFE/RL's coverage of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.