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За демократию и права человека в Туркменистане  For Democracy and Human Rights in Turkmenistan
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29.12.2016, 11:08 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Nine Candidates Register To Run In Turkmenistan's Presidential Election

Nine candidates have registered to run in Turkmenistan's presidential election on February 12, media reported on December 27.

Candidates who registered this week with the Central Commission for Elections and Referendums include the deputy head of the Mary region, Jumanazar Annayev; director of the Seidi oil refinery and parliament member Ramazan Durdyyev; deputy head of the Dashoguz region, Meretdurdy Gurbanov; chief of the department of economic development of the Akhal region, Serdar Jelilov; and the chief executive of Garabogazsulfat state concern, Suleimannepes Nurnepesov.

All of the candidates have been officially registered.

Earlier registrants included incumbent President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov; the chief executive of the Rysgal commercial bank and parliament member, Bekmyrat Atalyyev; the chairman of the Mary regional committee of the Agrarian Party, Durdygylych Orazov; and chairman of the State Association of the Food Industry, Maksat Annanpesov.

On December 25, Berdymukhammedov outlined his election program on national television and said that he is giving up further TV time allocated to him for the benefit of the other candidates.

Berdymukhammedov, 59, has been running the nation of 5.3 million since the death of autocrat Saparmurat Niyazov in December 2006.

Berdymukhammedov has control over all aspects of society and tolerates no dissent.

No election in Turkmenistan has been recognized as free and fair by Western monitoring organizations.

Based on reporting by Interfax and RFE/RL's Turkmen Service

16.12.2016, 22:17 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Moscow Refuses To Allow Human Rigths Protest Near Turkmenistan's Embassy

Moscow city authorities have refused to allow human rights activists to stage a protest in front of Turkmenistan's embassy on December 19 in support of jailed Turkmen journalists.

The Memorial Human Rights Center said on December 16 that city officials justified their refusal by saying the protest could affect «heavy public transport flow» in the area close to the embassy.

Memorial says the refusal was politically motivated.

An application to conduct the protest was filed by Memorial activist Bakhrom Khamroyev, who is originally from Uzbekistan.

The idea to stage the demonstration was initiated by the Association of Central Asian Political Immigrants in Russia after authorities in Turkmenistan on December 3 arrested 27-year-old RFE/RL correspondent Khudayberdy Allashov on charges of illegal possession of chewing tobacco.

The United States, the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and RFE/RL have all called on Turkmenistan to immediately release Allashov.

15.12.2016, 11:45 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Turkmen President Berdymukhammedov Nominated For New Term

Turkmenistan's dominant party has nominated incumbent President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov as its candidate in the tightly controlled Central Asian nation's February 12 presidential election.

The December 14 nomination by the Democratic Party strongly signals that Berdymukhammedov, as expected, will be elected to a new term as president in the isolated, natural-gas-rich former Soviet republic.

Berdymukhammedov, 59, has been running the nation of 5.3 million since the death of autocrat Saparmurat Niyazov in December 2006.

His current term is five years, but a new constitution adopted in September extended future presidential terms to seven years and scrapped a rule barring anyone over 70 from being elected president.

Berdymukhammedov has reversed several of Niyazov's more eccentric policies and allowed for multiple candidates in presidential votes, but tolerates little dissent.

No election in post-Soviet Turkmenistan has been recognized as free and fair by international organizations.

Candidates from the Agrarian Party and the Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs are to be announced later in December, but their participation will be widely seen as an effort to put a veneer of democracy on the vote.

Based on reporting by and Interfax

06.12.2016, 09:17 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
OSCE Urges Turkmenistan To Release RFE/RL Contributor

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has called on the authorities in Turkmenistan to «immediately» release RFE/RL contributor Khudayberdy Allashov.

Dunja Mijatovic, the OSCE representative on freedom of the media, urged Turkmen authorities «to ensure journalists’ safety in Turkmenistan,» in a statement issued on December 6.

RFE/RL said in a statement earlier that Allashov was apprehended in Turkmenistan’s northern Dashoguz Province on December 3, when police officers entered his house, beat him, and rounded up his family.

Both Allashov and his mother were charged with possessing chewing tobacco, which, while illegal in Turkmenistan, is commonly consumed and not known to have led to arrests in the past.

Allashov's wife was told that he had confessed to possessing 11 kilograms of the product and could expect to be sentenced to seven years in prison.

She believes that if he confessed, it was under duress.

Allashov’s arrest follows several cases which Mijatovic has previously raised with the Turkmen authorities.

In October, Soltan Achilova, an RFE/RL correspondent, was physically attacked, while threats to enforce a suspended jail sentence against another RFE/RL correspondent, Rovshan Yazmukhamedov, were made in November.

These cases came a year after another RFE/RL contributor, Saparmamed Nepeskuliev, was sentenced to three years in prison.

«We believe these charges are part of a targeted campaign intended to silence our Turkmen Service and intimidate the Turkmen people,» RFE/RL President Thomas Kent said in a December 5 statement. «Over the last 18 months, our reporters have been arrested, held incommunicado, beaten, interrogated, threatened, and arbitrarily jailed, and we hold the Turkmen government responsible.»

Rights groups say the authoritarian government of natural-gas-rich Turkmenistan, a former Soviet republic in Central Asia, stifles independent voices and tolerates little dissent.

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