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HRW Calls On Merkel To Challenge Turkmen Leader On Human Rights

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (file photo)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (file photo)

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the German government to urge Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov "to end enforced disappearances and address other serious human rights problems in the country."

In a statement issued on August 25, the New York-based rights monitor called on Chancellor Angela Merkel "to stand up for those in Turkmenistan who cannot engage their own government" during meetings with Berdymukhammedov in Berlin scheduled for August 29.

The statement specifically mentions RFE/RL's freelance correspondent Saparmamed Nepeskuliev, who was tried and imprisoned "on bogus drug charges," according to HRW.

"[Turkmenistan's] government forced three other Radio Liberty correspondents to cease working for the service," the statement said.

Natural-gas rich Turkmenistan is considered one of the world's most repressive states and has been listed near the bottom of all freedom and democracy surveys since gaining independence after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

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