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За демократию и права человека в Туркменистане  For Democracy and Human Rights in Turkmenistan
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24.11.2016, 20:40 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Turkmenistan President's Son Takes Post As Parliamentary Deputy

State television in Turkmenistan reported on November 23 that the only son of President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has become a parliamentary deputy.

Serdar Berdymukhammedov is representing the region of Ahal after winning a November 20 election to replace a deputy who resigned from parliament.

In July, President Berdymukhammedov appointed his son to a management post in the Foreign Ministry.

He previously has worked in other government positions, including the post of deputy agriculture minister.

Serdar Berdymukhammedov’s political appointments and candidacy in the November 20 by-election is seen by political analysts as a sign that he is being groomed to eventually succeed his father as president.

Berdymukhammedov became acting president in December 2006 after the death of President Saparmurat Niyazov.

In September, Turkmenistan amended its constitution in a way that allows Berdymukhammedov to stay in office for life.

Based on reporting by Reuters and Altyn Asyr

15.11.2016, 17:15 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
RFE/RL Turkmen Correspondent Attacked For Second Time

A correspondent for RFE/RL's Turkmen service has been attacked for a second time within a month following an assault that rights activists say was aimed at attempting to silence her reporting.

The 67-year-old correspondent, Soltan Achilova, was being treated at a health center in Ashgabat on November 8 when she was approached by two women screaming that her photographic work was meant to «pour dirt on Turkmenistan.»

Earlier that evening, in an attack Achilova believes was meant for her, an elderly woman at the same Archman resort facility northeast of Ashgabat was knocked to the floor by two unknown women who beat her and shouted «This is for your taking pictures.»

Achilova’s mobile phone has not worked and she’s had no internet connection since the November 8 attack.

A day earlier, Human Rights Watch issued a statement protesting an October 25 assault on Achilova after she was stopped by police for taking photographs of long lines of customers outside a state-owned store in Ashgabat.

Human Rights said «Achilova’s ordeal was clearly yet another orchestrated attempt to silence a critic» of the government.

RFE/RL President Thomas Kent said in a November 14 statement there is «every indication that these are deliberate attempts to punish our correspondent for doing her job in Turkmenistan.»

Kent said such attacks «violate Turkmenistan's internationalobligations and its own constitutional commitments to respect independent media» and should be «immediately condemned by the government and stopped.»

08.11.2016, 20:31 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
HRW Condemns Treatment, Assault Of RFE/RL Correspondent In Turkmenistan

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has condemned the treatment of an RFE/RL correspondent in Turkmenistan who was recently questioned by police and then assaulted and robbed by unknown assailants.

The rights group said the assault on Soltan Achilova, 67, was the latest in a series of attacks on RFE/RL correspondents in the tightly controlled Central Asian country.

«Achilova’s ordeal was clearly yet another orchestrated attempt to silence a critic,» said Rachel Denber, deputy Europe and Central Asia director at HRW on November 7. “Journalists should be able to work without being assaulted or detained by police for doing their job.”

HRW said Achilova was assaulted and robbed by unknown assailants who took away her camera after police questioned her regarding taking photos at a supermarket in the capital, Ashgabat, on October 25.

In December 2014, Achilova was attacked by several people while she was reporting from a market. The assailants brought her to a police station, where her camera was confiscated and the photos deleted.

In 2015, a Turkmen court sentenced Saparmamed Nepeskuliev, a freelance correspondent for RFE/RL, to three years in prison on what rights watchdogs say were trumped-up drug charges.

That same year, Turkmen authorities forced three other correspondents to cease working for RFE/RL.

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