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Turkmen Activist Under House Arrest For Two Years

Gurbandurdy Durdykuliev, a civic activist from the western Turkmen city of Balkanabat (formerly Nebitdag) and a frequent guest on Radio Azatlyk, says he has been under house arrest since July 2006.

According to Durdykuliev, he was detained by the regional secret police as he was planning to leave for the capital at the invitation of the U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat to celebrate U.S. Independence Day. They also confiscated his passport and pension card.

Durdykuliev has written to many government agencies, but nothing has changed. Even the prosecutor's office has not made any attempt to investigate.

Since he does not have his passport, he is unable to receive pension or disability payments from the government. The Balkanabat municipal officials have given Durdykuliev a temporary identity document to replace his passport, saying that he will be issued a new one if he can confirm that he lost the old one.

Durdykuliev was confined to a psychiatric hospital in February 2004 after he sent a letter to then-President Saparmurat Niyazov and the governor of the Balkan region, urging them to authorize a peaceful demonstration critical of government policies. He was released after two years following a letter to Niyazov from international organizations and Western governments, as well as 54 members of the U.S. Congress, urging him to release Durdykuliev.

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