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Turkmenistan frees RFE/RL radio reporter

Turkmenistan has released a reporter working for US-backed Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) after two weeks of detention, Reuters has reported quoting a RFE/RL statement.

RFE/RL said last month Sazak Durdymuradov, a contributing reporter on its Turkmen service, was detained and tortured after he refused to stop working for the Prague-based broadcaster. "The move came amid growing pressure on Turkmen authorities to release Durdymuradov from a remote psychiatric hospital known as the 'Turkmen Gulag'," RFE/RL said.

"According to information received by RFE/RL, Durdymuradov was severely beaten and tortured with electroshock after refusing to sign a letter pledging never again to take part in RFE/RL broadcasts." Turkmen officials have not been available for comment.

Turkmenistan is classified, along with North Korea, as the world's worst violator of press freedom by Reporters Without Borders. It is still off limits to most Western reporters, and domestic media never criticise state policies.

RFE/RL said Durdymuradov, a history teacher who contributed commentary on educational and constitutional reform, returned home to the town of Bakharden, about 200 km (125 miles) west of the capital Ashgabat, on July 4, according to his family.

Date posted: July 8, 2008 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 306