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Gurbandurdy Durdykuliev
Turkmen dissident Gurbandurdy Durdykuliev has been disallowed by officials to register as a candidate for the country's December 14 parliamentary elections.

Durdykuliev, who lives in the western town of Balkanabad, says his application was rejected by local officials. He adds that there has been no campaigning even by registered candidates in the western Balkan province, where he lives.

Durdykuliev told RFE/RL's Turkmen Service that his passport was confiscated and that he is unable to go to Ashgabat to meet with representatives from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Durdykuliev, 67, said he hopes to meet with OSCE officials when they come to his province to monitor the elections.

In 2004, Durdykuliev was forcibly incarcerated in a psychiatric clinic after sending a letter to then-President Saparmurat Niyazov requesting permission to hold a political demonstration. He was kept at the clinic for two years before being released. He says he was abused while detained.
More Afghans are being detained without trial, with poor people or those without powerful connections the most common victims, unable to pay bribes to secure their release, the United Nations has said.

Afghanistan is emerging from nearly 30 years of war and its judicial and law enforcement systems are still very much in their infancy. Corruption is endemic at all levels of the police force, experts say, who often milk the populace for bribes.

"Pretrial detention is supposed to be the exception and not the rule, but in this country it is more the rule, especially if you are poor and without powerful friends," said Christina Oguz, head of the UN's drug and crime agency in Afghanistan.

Read the full story here.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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