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Jailed Turkmen Activists Freed

A human rights group says that two Turkmen activists convicted on what it maintains were politically-motivated charges have been freed after serving out their prison terms.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch says Sapardurdy Khajiev and Annakurban Amanklychev were wrongfully imprisoned since their arrest in June 2006 and suffered numerous health problems from their incarceration.

Khajiev, Amanklychev, and Khajiev’s sister, Ogulsapar Muradova, were associated with the Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation, a Turkmen human rights group in exile.

They were detained in June 2006, just after having helped a French journalist with a documentary film about the dire state of human rights in Turkmenistan.

In August 2006, all three were convicted of illegal weapons possession after a closed trial.

Muradova died in suspicious circumstances in September 2006.