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RFE/RL Turkmen Correspondent Threatened


A correspondent working for RFE/RL's Turkmen Service has been interrogated and threatened by state security officers.

Dovletmurat Yazguliev says he and his wife were summoned to a local administrative office where secret service officers and local government officials questioned them in late December. He says he was asked to stop working for RFE/RL.

He says security officers told him that his life would become very difficult and that his relatives might lose their jobs if he did not sever his relationship with RFE/RL.

In 2006, another Turkmen correspondent for RFE/RL, Ogulsapar Muradova, died under mysterious circumstances while in prison in Turkmenistan.

Reporters Without Borders said Muradova died "from blows she received in prison while serving a six-year sentence for helping a French TV journalist to prepare a report."

Yazguliev believes he could be imprisoned if he continues to work for RFE/RL.

"I will do my utmost to continue working for democracy, for my people. I am not afraid of them," Yazguliev told RFE/RL. "I am just concerned about the method they could use against my family members. I informed [the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] about increased surveillance of my movements a month ago; however, I haven't heard from this organization yet."

Yazguliev sends news stories and reports on social issues from Turkmenistan's eastern Akhal Province. He says local authorities have been unhappy with some of his reports.