The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called for a full investigation into the death of a radio reporter who was in jail in Turkmenistan.
Ogulsapar Muradova, a Turkmen Service correspondent for the US Government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), died while in the custody of Turkmen authorities but the time and circumstances of her death are unclear.
“Turkmenistan is one of the most repressive countries in the world and the death of Ogulsapar raises suspicion that she was killed,” said Oliver Money-Kyrle, IFJ Programmes Director. “The lack of regard and impunity with which the Turkmenistan authorities treat independent media is a political scandal. Even so we call on the government to carry out a full and extensive investigation into this killing and to bring those responsible for justice.”
Relatives have demanded an independent doctor be allowed to examine the body but their demands were only met with threats from morgue employees, an activist told RFE/RL. The article also says Muradova’s children saw marks on her neck and a large wound on the head.
A relative interviewed by RFE/RL's Turkmen Service said security officials at the morgue told the family that Muradova died of natural causes and denied any wrongdoing.
Muradova had been detained in mid-June along with several human rights activists, according to a report from RFE/RL, which said authorities gave no reason for the arrests at the time. Muradova and two others were sentenced in August for up to seven years in jail on charges that they illegally possessed ammunition.
Journalists have frequently been detained by the Turkmen police. In March, two other RFE/RL journalists, Meret Khommadov and Jumadurdy Ovezov, were arrested. The police refused to explain the reason for their arrests and where they are located.
For more information, contact the IFJ at: +32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries