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Turkmen Officials Deport RFE/RL Journalist

Turkmenistan's Migration Office in Ashgabat has banned an RFE/RL journalist from entering the country although he had a valid visa, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reports.

Allamourad Rakhimov, a Prague-based broadcaster and native of Turkmenistan, arrived at Ashgabat airport early on May 19 with a visa that was initiated by his family.

Rakhimov, a Canadian citizen, was planning to vacation in his home village in the southeast Mary Province. He had not been to Turkmenistan in 11 years and has been unable to see his immediate family in that time.

But he was refused entry at the airport and was almost immediately put back on a plane to Prague, where RFE/RL has its broadcast headquarters.

The reason for his ban is unclear. Rakhimov was given a letter from the Migration Office stating that "he is banned from entering Turkmenistan."

He believes the reason he was not allowed to enter is due to his work as a journalist at RFE/RL.

Rakhimov has worked for RFE/RL's Turkmen Service since 2003.