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RFE/RL Turkmen Correspondents Report Harassment

(RFE/RL) ASHGABAT, April 27, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- RFE/RL's Turkmen Service says its correspondents in Turkmenistan are facing increased threats and harassment from government authorities.

It said at least seven RFE/RL correspondents in the country have had their land-line and mobile telephones blocked in recent weeks -- seriously curtailing their ability to gather and report information.

It also said RFE/RL reporters in the country say security officials are following them daily and interfering in their private lives.

In the latest incident, on April 26, the son of an RFE/RL correspondent and his girlfriend were detained and questioned for eight hours in Ashgabat.

The correspondent says that national security officials threatened the girl during the interrogation, telling her she would face trouble if she married into the correspondent's family.

In September 2006, RFE/RL journalist Ogulsapar Muradova died while in custody in a Turkmen prison.

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

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