Accessibility links

Breaking News

Moscow Says Missing Turkmen Opposition Activist Left Russia Willingly

Turkmen opposition activist Azat Isakov (file photo)
Turkmen opposition activist Azat Isakov (file photo)

Russian authorities deny that they deported noted Turkmen opposition activist Azat Isakov, who for several years lived in Russia's Moscow region, saying that he left of his own accord for his native Turkmenistan where rights groups say he may face imprisonment and torture.

The Chronicles Of Turkmenistan website obtained an official letter from Russia's Interior Ministry saying that Isakov left Russia for the city of Turkmenabat in Turkmenistan on October 22 and recommending that Turkmen authorities should be contacted to ascertain his whereabouts.

Exiled opposition politician Chemen Ore voiced concern about Isakov last week, saying that the 37-year-old opposition activist had been missing since October 20.

Ore said at the time that Isakov might have been deported to Turkmenistan, adding that Turkmen authorities had threatened him and his relatives, who are still in Turkmenistan, with prosecution on unspecified charges.

According to the Chronicles Of Turkmenistan, Isakov may face arbitrary detention and torture in the extremely isolated and secretive former Soviet republic.

Turkmenistan is one of the most repressive countries in the world, with President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov ruling with an iron fist and allowing little dissent since he came to power after the death of autocrat Saparmurat Niyazov in 2006.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.