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Turkmen Group Says EU States Hampering Freedom Of Movement

Farid Tuhbatullin (file) (Courtesy Photo) July 12, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- A Turkmen rights group says European Union countries are hampering Turkmen citizens' freedom of movement.

In a letter to the EU and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights said freedom of movement had recently improved in Turkmenistan, in particular the right to leave the state.

"However paradoxical it may seem, currently many European countries are creating considerable obstacles to the freedom of movement for Turkmenistan citizens," the Vienna-based group said.

The group's Farid Tuhbatullin said the German Consulate in Ashgabat -- which is responsible for issuing EU visas to Turkmen citizens -- had refused to issue visas to NGO representatives and relatives of refugees.

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