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Writers Honored For Commitment To Free Expression

Dovletmyrat Yazkuliyev
Dovletmyrat Yazkuliyev
Writers from 19 countries have received 2012 Hellman/Hammett grants for their commitment to free expression.

The award is administered by the New York-based group Human Rights Watch (HRW) and is given annually to writers who have been targets of political persecution or human rights abuses.

This year's 41 honorees include Dovletmyrat Yazkuliyev, a freelance contributor for RFE/RL's Turkmen Service.

HRW says Yazkuliyev is "known for his reporting on sensitive issues in Turkmenistan."

In 2011, Yazkuliyev was arrested, tried, and convicted of "influencing or abetting an attempted suicide by a family member."

Most observers say the charge was official retribution for his reporting.

He received a presidential pardon in October 2011.

Those honored also include three Iranians, two Pakistanis, and one Tajik.

The awards are worth up to $10,000 each.