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Address by the Committee for Protecting Persecuted Citizens of Turkmenistan

On 17 June convict Begli Kurbanmuradov, former Minister of Communications and a cousin of the former Turkmen Deputy Prime Minister Yolly Kurbanmuradov, died of an extensive myocardial infarction (heart attack) in a maximum security prison in the city of Bairam-Ali.

Begli Kurbanmuradov was convicted in 2005 by a decision of President Saparmurat Niyazov.

B. Kurbanmuradov's health had severely deteriorated several months ago. The colony administration and the department of correction ignored requests and written appeals by relatives to improve the conditions of his detention. As a result Kurbanmuradov did not receive adequate medical assistance and subsequently died.

This is not the first incident when convicts, including former state officials, die in the Turkmen prisons due to the failure of timely medical treatment.

The authorities of Turkmenistan are violating their own laws and international obligations, in particular the Optional Protocol of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, the first part of which was ratified by the Turkmen Parliament in 1997 and the second part in 2000.

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The Committee for Protecting Persecuted Citizens of Turkmenistan would like to offer condolences to family members and friends of Begli Kurbanmuradov.

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The Committee for Protecting Persecuted Citizens of Turkmenistan is calling on all relatives of persons wrongfully convicted by the Turkmen authorities to contact the United Nations Human Rights Committee and other organizations so that the international community might condemn the action of law-enforcement agencies and demand that the government of Turkmenistan abide by all adopted international obligations on the rights of convicts.

The Committee for Protecting Persecuted Citizens of Turkmenistan intends to hold an action of protest on 29 June and asks everyone who cares about the future of Turkmenistan to support this campaign.

We are calling on:

- all Turkmen residents to refrain from participating in the festivities devoted to the birthday of President G. Berdymukhammedov;

- all Turkmen residents to leave their homes at 9 p.m. precisely during the launch of the propaganda TV program Vatan and the broadcasting of "nation-wide festivities in honour of the President's birthday" and to just stroll on the streets. No actions, chanting or other moves which could be perceived by law-enforcement officers as a provocation need be undertaken, just stay on the street;

- all car owners who are discontent with the increase in motor vehicle tax to join our action of protest by creating numerous obstacles during vehicle technical inspections and deliberately causing traffic jams when the Presidential motorcade passes by. We ask you to honk more than 3 times and flash your headlights at 9 p.m. precisely on 29 June.

By this joint campaign we are violating no laws but we will be able to demonstrate to the country's government and to each other that WE ARE CITIZENS and that they should consider our requirements and execute their own laws. Let us give it a try!

Source: TIHR