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September 21, 2007

The Hon. Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20520

Via Facsimile: +1 202 647 2283

Dear Secretary Rice:

In advance of your meeting in New York with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov during the 62nd session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, the Committee to Protect Journalists draws your attention to the unexplained death of an independent journalist in Turkmenistan.

April 2007

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists
New York, February 9, 2007—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns restrictions on the foreign and domestic journalists covering the Turkmen presidential election on February 11.

While voters will cast their ballots for a president for the first time since 1992 on Sunday, CPJ said the outcome is all but assured. The six presidential contenders, including acting Head of State Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov, are from the only permitted political party. No opposition candidates will be allowed to run, and no international observers will be allowed to monitor the vote.
By Anderson Cooper

Silence. When a journalist is killed, more often than not, there is silence. In Russia, someone followed Anna Politkovskaya home and quietly shot her to death in her apartment building. The killer muffled the sound of the gun with a silencer. Her murder made headlines around the world in October, but from the Kremlin there was nothing. No statement. No condolences. Silence.

Getting away with murder in the former Soviet states
By Nina Ognianova

The assassin in a baseball cap who gunned down Anna Politkovskaya outside her Moscow apartment used a silencer. But reverberations from the contract-style slaying of Russia's icon of investigative journalism were felt around the world.
Attacks & developments throughout the region


The December 21 death of Saparmurat Niyazov, the self-proclaimed president-for-life, ended a two-decade rule that plunged Turkmenistan into a dark abyss in which the state maintained absolute control over information. His sudden death from heart failure at age 66 left the nation with an indelible legacy of repression. Niyazov's eccentric personality probably won't be matched by his successor, but his press policies seem likely to survive. The national assembly named Deputy Prime Minister Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov, a Niyazov loyalist, as acting head of state and scheduled elections for early 2007. Berdymuhammedov vowed to follow in the late president's path.

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Killed in Turkmenistan

1 journalist killed since 1992

1 journalist murdered

1 murdered with impunity


Europe and Central Asia

Program Coordinator:
Nina Ognianova

Research Associate:
Muzaffar Suleymanov


Tel: 212-465-1004
ext 106, 101
Fax: 212-465-9568

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