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Turkmenistan: Human Rights Groups Condemns Attack On Opposition Leader

By Mohammad Lazar

Prague, 11 September 1998 (RFE/RL) -- A prominent U.S.-based human rights group has written Turkmenistan's president to express, in its words, profound dismay over the reported beating last month of Turkmen opposition leader Durdymurat Khojamuhammedov.

In a letter sent three days ago, Human Rights Watch wrote to President Saparmurad Niyazov that the attack on Khojamuhammedov could not have been carried out without official sanction.

The letter said that the Turkmen government has used violence to intimidate activists in the past and warned that such violence violates international human rights laws which Turkmenistan has pledged to uphold.

Officials of the Turkmen government contacted by RFE/RL refused to comment on the reported beating of Khojamuhammedov.

The opposition leader was reportedly kidnapped and beaten unconscious early last month as he walked home from a meeting at the British embassy in the Turkmen capital.