Prague, 21 April 1998 (RFE/RL) -- RFE/RL's Turkmen Service today learned that Durdymurat Khojamukhammed, co-leader of the banned "Democratic Progress Party," has been freed from a mental hospital (at Goek-Depe). He had been confined there from 1995 until his release last week (Apr 17).
An RFE/RL correspondent in Ashgabat visited Khojamukammedov at his home today. Khojamukammedov said that shortly before he was released Turkmen authorities had demanded he give up his party and opposition activities. He says he did not bow to that demand.
And, according to Human Rights Watch activist Erika Dailey, not only Khojamukhammed, but also Begmurat Khojayev and Batyr Sakhetliyev of the so-called "Ashgabat Eight" were recently released. Khojayev and Sakhetliyev were among organizers of an anti-government demonstration in Ashgabat on July 12 1995.
Dailey's account of their release has not yet been independently confirmed in Ashgabat.
It was in connection with the 1995 demonstration that opposition leader and former Foreign Minister Avdy Kuliyev was reportedly charged. Kuliyev was detained Friday after arriving in Ashgabat on a flight from Moscow. He was released yesterday.