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Turkmen Opposition Activist Missing In Russia

Activists Murat Ovezov (left) and Azat Isakov (combo photo)

Noted Turkmen opposition activist Azat Isakov, who for several years has lived in Russia's Moscow region, has been reported missing after mysteriously disappearing last month.

The Chronicles Of Turkmenistan website quoted the exiled opposition politician Chemen Ore as saying the 37-year-old Isakov had been missing since October 20.

Ore said that before his disappearance, Isakov sent him a message saying: "The police came. If they find me, they will take me away. I am hiding."

Russian police have not commented on the situation.

Ore added that Turkmen authorities had threatened Isakov and his relatives still inside Turkmenistan with prosecution on unspecified charges.

According to the Chronicles Of Turkmenistan, if deported to Ashgabat, Isakov may face arbitrary detention and torture.

Another website that focuses on developments in the tightly controlled former Soviet republic,, reported on November 2 that vlogger Murat Ovezov, 48, who is known for his writings criticizing the Turkmen authorities for their ongoing refusal to acknowledge any coronavirus cases in the country, was sentenced to five years in prison on fraud charges more than a year ago.

The secretive authorities of the extremely isolated country rarely officially announce such cases.

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.

With reporting by and Chronicles Of Turkmenistan