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Belarus Detains, Plans To Extradite Turkmen-Born Former Journalist

The Border Guard Committee of Belarus said on August 5 that it has detained a Turkmenistan-born Swedish man and is preparing to extradite the former journalist back to Turkmenistan.

Committee member Alyaksandr Tishchenko told the Associated Press that Chary Annamuradov was detained in July as he flew into Belarus because his name was on a wanted list shared by several former Soviet republics.

Annamuradov, a former journalist who investigated drug trafficking between Europe and Afghanistan through Turkmenistan and Russia, was sentenced to 18 years in prison in Turkmenistan in 1991 on charges of drug possession.

Rights groups have said the charges against him were politically motivated.

Annamuradov was released from prison after serving several years of his sentence and fled Turkmenistan.

He lived briefly in Prague, where he worked for the Turkmen Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Annamuradov then moved to Sweden, where he was granted political asylum in 2002.

He also reportedly worked as a correspondent for Deutsche Welle under a pseudonym.

In 2015, Freedom House listed Turkmenistan among the worst offenders of jailing journalists and tightening media controls.

Based on reporting by AP, Washington Post, Fox News, and Chronicles Of Turkmenistan