RFE/RL’s Turkmen Correspondent Released From Custody

Rovshen Yazmuhamedov

Rovshen Yazmuhamedov

WASHINGTON – Rovshen Yazmuhamedov, RFE/RL’s Turkmen Service correspondent who spent two weeks in police custody in Turkmenabat, was released today under circumstances that have yielded little information about his ordeal.

Acting RFE/RL President and CEO Kevin Klose welcomed Yazmuhamedov’s release, saying, “We’re very happy he’s safe, and I thank the governments, international organizations, media outlets and NGOs that challenged his detention and pressed for his release.”

The EU, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders all issued statements on Yazmuhamedov’s behalf.

Klose pointed out that RFE/RL had taken the bold step of trying to regularize its relations with the Turkmen government by applying to accredit Yazmuhamedov earlier this year. “We ask the Turkmen government to answer for Rovshen’s detention and treatment, and stop responding to independent expression with intimidation and imprisonment,” Klose added.

Yazmuhamedov was originally taken into custody on May 6 to the Interior Ministry’s Department 6, which oversees cases involving organized crime and extremism. He was detained not long after publishing several reports for Radio Azatlyk, as the service is known locally, that generated active discussion on the service’s website.

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