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Jailed Turkmen Animal Rights Activist Visited By Daughter After Days Held Incommunicado

Turkmen animal rights activist Galina Kucherenko (right) and her daughter Valeria (file photo)

The daughter of a jailed Turkmen animal rights activist has brought her mother warm clothing, making the first visit permitted by the authorities since police stormed Galina Kucherenko's apartment and arrested her.

Human rights advocate Natalya Shabunts told RFE/RL that she and Kucherenko's daughter Valeria were allowed to visit the activist at a police detention center on the outskirts of Turkmenistan's capital, Ashgabat, on December 12.

Shabunts added that Valeria was allowed to hand warm clothes over to her mother, who was sentenced to 15 days in jail for what police said were "unsanitary conditions" caused by "an excessive number of pets" in her apartment.

Kucherenko had been held incommunicado since her arrest on December 7.

Shabunts and Human Rights Watch (HRW) said earlier that Kucherenko, 52, was detained along with Valeria after police raided their apartment in Ashgabat. Valeria was later released.

Rights activists say Kucherenko has received numerous threats from law enforcement officials in Ashgabat for her efforts to prevent what she says are mass killings of stray dogs and cats by the authorities in the Central Asian country.

On December 8, HRW said Turkmenistan's "international partners should urgently and publicly call on the Turkmen government to disclose Kucherenko's whereabouts and release her immediately."

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has ruled the former Soviet republic with an iron hand, tolerating little dissent since he came to power after the death of autocrat Saparmurat Niyazov in 2006.