Radio Free Europe contributor forcibly confined in psychiatric hospital

    MONTREAL, July 2 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders has learned
that Radio Free Europe contributor Sazak Durdymuradov is being held against
his will in a psychiatric hospital in the eastern region of Lebap that is
notorious for holding dissidents. He was examined by 10 doctors who diagnosed
"mental instability." He was reportedly given electric shocks after his arrest
on 20 June in an attempt to make him sign a pledge to stop working for RFE.
    "We call on the Turkmen authorities to free Durdymuradov at once,"
Reporters Without Borders said. "Punitive hospitalisation and torture are
totally unacceptable. In the light of these events, we are all the more
shocked that, after holding talks with Turkmenistan about human rights, the
European Union said it was optimistic about the way the situation was
    The EU and Turkmenistan began a dialogue on human rights in Ashgabad on
24 June, at a time when the police are believed to have been torturing
Durdymuradov. Riina Kionka, EU high representative Javier Solana's personal
representative for human rights, told RFE there had been no EU reaction to the
Durdymuradov case because it took place while the EU delegation was in
Ashgabad and they only learned about it on their return.
    Independent journalists were excluded from the Ashgabad talks. Only
government-controlled news media were invited.
    Turkmenistan was ranked 167th out of 169 countries in the latest
Reporters Without Borders world press freedom index. President Gurbanguli
Berdymukhammedov is on the organisation's list of Press Freedom Predators and
its list of Internet Enemies.

For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, secretary general,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4188, Fax: (514)

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