IFJ Calls for Immediate Release of Detained Turkmen Journalists

The International Federation of Journalists today expressed concern about the fate of two Turkmen journalists working for Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty who have been arrested in mysterious circumstances and called for their immediate release.

Meret Khommadov and Jumadurdy Ovezov were arrested on 7 March. The police have refused to explain the reason for their arrests and where they are located.

“These arrests are deeply troubling,” said Oliver Money-Kyrle, IFJ Projects Director for the region. “We ask that they be immediately released and allowed to continue their work.”

Meanwhile, RFE/RL has lost contact with all their other correspondents in the country. Contact is usually maintained by mobile phone for fear of attracting undue attention of the authorities. None of the correspondents have responded for eight days, despite the phone lines being in full working order.

“Turkmenistan has a worrying reputation as one of the most oppressive countries in the world,” added Money-Kyrle. “Government control of media is absolute, arbitrary arrests are common place and independent journalism is not tolerated. In such circumstances we are obviously very fearful when journalists are suddenly detained without any apparent reason.”

For further information contact the IFJ : +32 2 235 22 04
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries