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Russia: Moscow Reportedly Extradited Turkmen To Ashgabat

Moscow, 2 November 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Human rights activists and lawyers say Russian authorities illegally extradited a former employee of Turkmenistan's Central Bank to his home country, where he has been kept in jail. Vitalii Ponomaryev of the Moscow-based Memorial human rights organization told RFE/RL's Turkmen Service that Murat Garabaev was handed over to Turkmen authorities on 24 October.

Neither Moscow nor Ashgabat has confirmed Garabaev's extradition.

Turkmen prosecutors claim Garabaev is connected with the embezzlement of nearly $42 million from Turkmenistan's state coffers.

Garabaev's Russian lawyer, Anna Slavitskaya, said that Moscow's decision to extradite her client is unlawful and that yesterday she appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights.

Ponomaryev said that Garabaev's mother and sister were arrested and their property confiscated last month in Turkmenistan.