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Pardoned Former Turkmen Mufti Gets New State Position

(RFE/RL) ASHGABAT, August 14, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Turkmenistan's former chief mufti, Nasrullah ibn Ibadullah, has been appointed to a state position less than one week after he was pardoned and released from jail, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reported.

Turkmen television showed President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov meeting with Ibadullah and offering him the post of adviser at the State Council for Religious Affairs under Turkmenistan's president.

Ibadullah, who is 60 years old, was sentenced in 2004 to 22 years in jail on treason charges, allegedly for involvement in an assassination attempt against former President Saparmurat Niyazov.

His arrest is thought to be linked to his opposition to Niyazov's policies. He angered Niyazov with his opposition to the death sentences handed to people tried secretly for purported involvement in the alleged assassination attempt.

Ibadullah was pardoned alongside 10 other prisoners. Upon his release, Ibadullah expressed thanks to the new president, and promised to serve "our people, our country, our homeland, and our president."

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

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