New York, June 26, 2008—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the abduction, torture, and forcible psychiatric hospitalization of Sazak Durdymuradov, a contributing reporter for the Turkmen Service of the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), in the Western city of Bakhaden.
According to RFE/RL, Durdymuradov was seized by agents of the secret police (MNB) from his Bakhaden home on June 20 and forcibly taken to a local psychiatric clinic, then shuttled to an MNB station where he was severely beaten, tortured with electroshock, and pressured to sign a letter that said he agreed to stop reporting for RFE/RL. Colleagues say they believe that Durdymuradov was then transferred to a psychiatric hospital in the eastern Lebap region, notorious for “admitting” critics of the Turkmen regime, RFE/RL Turkmen Service Director Oguljamal Yazliyeva told CPJ. However, Durdymuradov’s whereabouts have yet to be confirmed. When RFE/RL contacted MNB authorities to find out where Durdymuradov was, they told the outlet that they were unfamiliar with the case.