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RFE/RL Review June 30, 2006

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The Best of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Reporting
June 15-30, 2006

RADIO FREE AFGHANISTAN GETS EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE RICE... U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave an exclusive interview to Radio Free Afghanistan during her visit to Kabul on June 28, 2006. In the interview, Rice reaffirmed America's commitment to Afghanistan and told Radio Free Afghanistan that "the American people are committed to Afghanistan's future... we are not leaving again as we did in the 1980s. This time our strategic relationship is strong and it is going to be a long-term relationship." Asked about security concerns on the Afghan-Pakistani border, Rice pledged that the U.S. would work "better" with the governments of the two countries to ensure the "benefits of security" for the Afghan people (a complete transcript of the interview can be found at

...DEBATES TERRORISM AND FREEDOM OF THE PRESS... During the last ten days of June, Radio Free Afghanistan broadcast debate over a controversial directive from the Afghan government to the media. The directive warned the media not to glorify terrorism and went on to set guidelines for dealing with terrorist groups and their commanders. Reporters without Borders called the government initiative "outrageous," and Human Rights Watch urged the Afghan government to revoke the directive. Radio Free Afghanistan reported President Hamid Karzai's assertion that the government wants to prevent the media from "legitimizing terrorism." Concerns of Afghan journalists about the intimidating nature of the directive and its chilling effect were also reported. Radio Free Afghanistan aired a program on June 22 that included an interview with Afghan Culture and Information Minister, Sayed Makhdom Rahin, defending the directive, as well as a discussion with the head of the Afghan Union of Journalists, Rahimullah Samandar, detailing the dangers of limiting press freedom.

...COVERS OPERATIONS IN SOUTHERN AFGHANISTAN Several Radio Free Afghanistan programs in June covered various aspects of the coalition forces' "Operation Mountain Thrust" in southern Afghanistan, including a report that more than 100 armed insurgents had been killed. Afghan Army General Raoufi told Radio Free Afghanistan on June 24 that this is only the beginning and is simply a prelude to more action. Radio Free Afghanistan Kabul correspondent Ahmad Hanaish interviewed Defense Ministry spokesman General Zahir Azimi about the military situation, while a Prague-based Radio Free Afghanistan broadcaster spoke by telephone with a Kandahar resident who described life in the battle zone.

** The Director of RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan, Akbar Ayazi, may be reached by email at <>. Radio Free Afghanistan's website is located at; English-language news about events in Afghanistan can be found at

RADIO FREE IRAQ FOLLOWS SADDAM DEFENSE... RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq spoke by telephone from Prague with Khalil al- Dulaymi, Saddam Hussein's chief defense lawyer, after the killing of defense lawyer, Khamis al-Obeidi, on June 21, 2006. Al-Dulaymi said five other people on the defense team have been assassinated and that "the assassination of Khamis al-Obeidi or any other colleague will not break our will... we stand steadfast in defending right against wrong and defending the truth with honest and purposeful words." (

...NATIONAL RECONCILIATION PLAN A RFE/RL Baghdad correspondent was at parliament on June 25 when Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki, presented a national reconciliation plan that included removing powerful militias from the streets, opening a dialogue with insurgents, and reviewing the status of purged members of Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath party. Members of parliament were to start debating the details of the plan which offers an "olive branch" to all those prepared to enter the political process and take part in rebuilding Iraq. RFI followed the debate and reported on the pledge of leading Iraqi groups to support al-Maliki's initiative (

** The Director of RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq, Sergey Danilochkin, may be reached by email at <>. Radio Free Iraq's website is at; English-language news about events in Iraq can be found at

ARMENIAN, AZERBAIJANI SERVICES SPARK PEACE DEBATE An exclusive RFE/RL interview on June 22 with U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza has sparked intense debate in both Armenia and Azerbaijan and has elicited reactions by both their foreign ministries, as well as by the Armenian President.
Bryza, the new U.S. co-chair of the Minsk group, spoke with the RFE/RL Armenian Service Director, Harry Tamrazian, and RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service senior correspondent, Kenan Aliyev, about the prospects of a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Russia's role in the South Caucasus, and America's strategic priorities in the region. Bryza disclosed, for the first time, details of a framework agreement that would resolve the 18-year conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan (
As political and public commotion continued unabated, RFE/RL's Washington correspondent went back to Bryza to further discuss possible steps to secure peace in the region. Bryza said international negotiators have done as much as they can and it is now up to the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to make decisions that would take the peace process forward ( Both interviews continue to receive widespread media attention in Azerbaijan and Armenia.

** The Director of RFE/RL's Armenian Service, Hrair Tamrazian, may be reached by email at <>; the Armenian Service's website is at, while English-language news about events in Armenia can be found at; the Director of RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service, Abbas Djavadi, may be reached by email at <>; the Azerbaijani Service's website is at; English-language news about events in Azerbaijan can be found at

CHECHEN MINISTER TELLS RFE/RL OF LEADER'S DEATH Chechen separatist Foreign Minister, Akhmed Zakayev, gave an interview to RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service on June 17 confirming the death of Chechen rebel leader Abdul-Khalim Sadullaev. Foreign Minister Zakayev said that, "Literally half an hour ago it was confirmed to me that the Russian special services have committed yet another political murder. The president of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, Abdul-Khalim Sadullaev, died during an unequal battle in the town of Argun. His two companions, who had accompanied him on this trip, also died. Some three thousand troops were used in the operation, whose aim was the capture of Abdul-Khalim Sadullaev." When asked what will happen now, Zakayev said, "I don't think there will be any strategic changes... the Constitution makes the provision that the successor to the serving president is the vice president... the vice president has already become the acting president. I think that after the next three to four days, a day of mourning will be announced, and that after that, Doku Umarov will be confirmed as President of Chechnya by the State Committee of Defense." Sadullaev was in office little more than a year. He succeeded Aslan Maskhadov as the Chechen separatist leader after Maskhadov was killed by Russian forces in March 2005 (an analysis of the impact of Sadullaev's death on the conflict in Chechnya by "RFE/RL Caucasus Report" editor Liz Fuller may be read at

** The Director of RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service, Aslan Doukaev, may be reached by email at <>. English-language news about events in the North Caucasus region can be found at

RUSSIAN SERVICE CORRECTS CNN REPORT ON HOSTAGE DIPLOMATS... RFE/RL's Russian Service reported extensively on the status of four Russian diplomats who were taken hostage in Iraq in early June. RFE/RL Russian Service broadcasters were able to correct an error in translation on June 21 that led CNN to report that the hostages had been killed by a Muslim extremist group. CNN withdrew the report after its website editor in Atlanta spoke to RFE/RL's Russian Service in Prague (
The following week, after the diplomats were killed and their deaths were confirmed by the Russian government and other sources, the Russian Service aired several features on the topic, including a discussion with Russian and U.S. experts on Russia's management of the situation, what could have been done to save the diplomats, and a comparison between the kidnappings in Iraq and kidnappings in Chechnya (;

...LOOKS AT CHURCH RECONCILIATION... The Russian Service took a deeper look at the decision by the New York- based Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCA) to reconcile with the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow, after a split of nearly 80 years. RFE/RL's New York correspondent, Nikola Krastev, spent a day and night at The Holy Trinity Monastery and Seminary near Jordanville in New York State, which is one of the largest Russian Orthodox cultural centers outside Russia. Krastev spoke at length with Metropolitan Laurus, the head of ROCA, about the reconciliation process. Laurus said that the two churches are talking about conducting joint services but he maintained that "at this point we don't know yet, it has not been discussed, and we do not have a decision on details and procedures." (

...INFORMS ABOUT NEWLY-APPOINTED PROSECUTOR GENERAL In a program aired on June 29, RFE/RL's Russian Service spoke with Moscow-based political analyst Vladimir Pribylovsky about the recent appointment of Justice Minister Yury Chaika as prosecutor-general. Pribylovsky, director of the Panorama think-tank, argued that although the prosecutor's office has long been subject to politically motivated influence from the Kremlin, the latest move tightens the bonds between the prosecutor-general and President Vladimir Putin. He said what happened was "a sort of redistribution of the balance of power within the team of [President Vladimir] Putin. The extraordinarily large influence of the group around [deputy presidential administration head Igor] Sechin was restricted a little. The prosecutor-general now has been placed under the direct control of the president without any mediators." (

** The Director of RFE/RL's Russian Service, Maria Klein, may be reached by email at <>. The Russian Service's website is at; English-language news about events in Russia can be found at

RFE/RL CENTRAL NEWS INVESTIGATES RUSSIAN RACISM On June 19, RFE/RL's Central News Bureau produced four features that examine the rise in hate crimes on Russian city streets. The series of features was aired by the Russian Service and was broadcast in Kazakh, Tajik, Armenian, and Chechen languages because these languages are native to many of the victims of the aforementioned attacks.
In a story headlined "Rising Racism Takes On Political Character Ahead Of 2008 Vote" (, RFE/RL spoke to analysts who suggested that the wave of skinhead and neo-Nazi violence actually serves a political purpose for the Kremlin, as elections and the presidential succession race draw near. In two analytical reports, "Did Soviet Collapse Open Door To Modern-Day Racism?" ( and "Using Racism Is A Time-Honored Kremlin Tool" (, RFE/RL compared traditional racial discrimination in the former Soviet Union with current xenophobia in Russia.
A fourth story, "Analyst Says Racial Violence on the Rise in Russia, Ukraine" ( reported the remarks of Nikolai Butkevich, the Research and Advocacy Director of the Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union. Butkevich spoke at RFE/RL's Washington office on June 15 about the multiplying neo-Nazi groups in Russia and the failure of local political and law enforcement officials to stem the tide. He said a similar phenomenon is occurring in Ukraine, but is getting very little media attention.

...MARKS WORLD REFUGEE DAY... On June 20, many RFE/RL services marked World Refugee Day with programs about the United Nations annual report for 2005. This report calculated that there are 8.4 million refugees worldwide, including some five million of who have been away from home for more than five years. RFE/RL's Afghan, North Caucasus, Azerbaijani, and other language services aired details of the UN report as well as interviews with refugees in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

...TALKS TO NEW EU CHAIRMAN On June 19, several RFE/RL services aired an exclusive interview with Finnish Foreign Minister, Erkki Tuomioja, who assumes the EU's rotating presidency on July 1, 2006. Tuomioja spoke in Brussels to RFE/RL correspondent Ahto Lobjakas about plans for the Union's agenda during his six-month term. He said he sees little prospect during this time for greater EU engagement with eastern neighbors that are hoping for eventual membership in the bloc. He said Finland's efforts will be focused mostly on getting talks off the ground for a new partnership agreement with Russia (

** The Executive Producer of RFE/RL's Central Newsroom, Deborah Seward, may be reached by email at <>; RFE/RL English-language news reports can be found at

ROMANIA-MOLDOVA SERVICE FOLLOWS FLIP-FLOP ON WITHDRAWAL FROM IRAQ RFE/RL's Romania-Moldova Service aired an interview on June 29 with U.S. Representative John Shimkus (R-IL) about an announcement by the Romanian Defense Ministry that the country plans to withdraw its forces from Iraq. Shimkus, a delegate to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, said, "This is not the time to show a lack of resolve by the international community (in Iraq)... if this hasn't been done in consultation with the coalition, then I would be highly disappointed" (
The service also aired an exclusive interview with former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb, now with the Center for American Progress, who told the service's New York correspondent about the importance of Romanian military missions in Afghanistan and Iraq (
Romanian President Traian Basescu later criticized the Ministry's statement, calling it "unacceptable." President Basescu heads the Supreme Council for Defense which has to approve the proposal; on June 30, the council rejected it. Romania currently has 890 troops in Iraq (

...COMMEMORATES POGROM ANNIVERSARY... Romania-Moldova Service senior correspondent Viktor Eskenasy attended an international conference in the northeastern city of Lasi on June 28. The conference commemorated the 65th anniversary of the 1941 Lasi pogrom in which more than 13,000 Jewish residents were killed on the order of the Romanian government. Romanian Foreign Minister, Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, was also at the conference and on June 29 gave an exclusive interview to RFE/RL broadcast about the need for Romanians to understand the dark side of their history (
RFE/RL also reported U.S. Ambassador Nicolas Taubman's remarks at the conference, in which he said Romanians are only just waking up after "nearly a 60-year silence about the true history of the Holocaust in their country." He said that Romanians must do more "to fight against racists and extremists on the political scene, in the media, and on the bleachers of football stadiums" ( In a separate exclusive interview, Taubman expressed concern to RFE/RL about the weak reaction of civil society to extremist statements by politicians and the media in Romania. Only 13,000 Jews remain in Romania, which had been home to 750,000 Jews before World War II.

...REPORTS PROTEST IN CHISINAU On June 28, a correspondent for RFE/RL's Romania-Moldova Service covered a protest in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau marking the 65th anniversary of the Soviet Union's annexation of Moldova under the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Dozens of people gathered in front of the Russian embassy and called on the Russian government to publicly condemn the annexation. Protesters wearing T-shirts with the Romanian flag on them also called on Russia to withdraw its 1,500 troops from the Moldovan Transdniester separatist province.

** The Director of RFE/RL's Romania-Moldova Service, Oana Serafim, may be reached by email at <>. The Romania-Moldova Service's website is at; English-language news about events in Moldova can be found at and in Romania at

GEORGIAN SERVICE AIRS VIEW OF RUSSIA FROM U.S.... In an exclusive interview June 22, RFE/RL's Georgian Service talked to Bruce Jackson, the head of the U.S. Project on Transitional Democracies, about his comments in a recent Washington Post article by Jackson Diehl that suggested that western will to challenge Russia's democracy standards is weak. Jackson told Georgian Service listeners that American disappointment with Russian behavior has been growing for more than three years and that "Russian foreign policy towards its neighbors tends to be belligerent and bullying." Jackson said Georgia and other post-Soviet states have had to defer to Russian sensitivities and slow discussions about joining European institutions, and asserted that Russian policy has been "reasonably successful in dividing America from its allies in Europe," and that "these things need to be corrected" (

...UN VIEW OF ABKHAZ CONFLICT... RFE/RL Georgian Service correspondent Nino Gelashvili spoke with Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini, the UN Secretary-General's special representative for the Abkhaz conflict, who talked about the successes and failures of her four-year term as well as trends for the future. She said in the interview, aired on June 23, that it might soon be possible for "de facto [Abkhaz] President Sergei Bagapsh to meet with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili" and that "we are not so far from a possible signature on a declaration on non-resumption of hostilities, nonuse of force, and the return of internally displaced persons and refugees" (

...INSIDE LOOK AT GEORGIAN PRISONS In a remarkable story from inside the Rustavi Georgian prison, a RFE/RL Georgian Service correspondent spoke to several convicts and experienced firsthand the cramped, overcrowded, and unsanitary conditions endured by inmates. The correspondent interviewed a 65-year- old murderer, serving 15 years for killing a person who had insulted him; a veteran of the war in Abkhazia, serving 13 years for stealing to feed his family; and a woman who brings her imprisoned husband food every month. This woman told RFE/RL that space is so scarce that her husband and others must take turns sleeping and that the cells are full of fleas. The program quoted Deputy Justice Minister Ekaterine Tkheshelashvili saying that Georgia should abandon the Soviet penitentiary system, including the so-called "corrective labor colonies." (

** The Director of RFE/RL's Georgian Service, David Kakabadze, may be reached by email at <>. The Georgian Service's website is at; English-language news about events in Georgia can be found at

KAZAKH SERVICE AT PROTEST RALLY... On June 24, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service had correspondents on the scene in Almaty, where an estimated 200 people held a protest rally against proposed changes to Kazakhstan's media law. Speakers at the rally said the planned changes in registration requirements and other restrictions would effectively end freedom of speech in Kazakhstan. The OSCE and the U.S. have also said that the legislation, backed by President Nursultan Nazarbayev, would be a setback for press freedom (

...FOLLOWS FATE OF ARRESTED UZBEK REFUGEE RFE/RL's Kazakh Service broke a story on June 25 that detailed the nighttime arrest of an Uzbek man in Almaty, who had been granted refugee status by the UN ( Gabdurafih Temirbaev sought refuge in Kazakhstan after the May 2005 massacre in Andijon and was granted UN refugee status on June 16, 2006. RFE/RL interviewed his wife who said that three men purporting to be Kazakh police burst into her house in the night and took her husband away. Cesar Dubon, UN representative in Kazakhstan, told RFE/RL in a June 26 broadcast that the UN High Commission for refugees is seeking an explanation from Kazakh authorities and waiting to be granted access to Temirbaev.

** The Director of RFE/RL's Kazakh Service, Merhat Sharipzhan, may be reached by email at <>. The Kazakh Service's website is at; English-language news about events in Kazakhstan can be found at

KYRGYZ SERVICE REPORTS CLASH AT BY-ELECTION... RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service was the only media outlet in Kyrgyzstan to report on a failed parliamentary by-election on June 25. A Bishkek Bureau correspondent traveled to the remote Kurshab constituency in Osh region and watched as supporters of the two rival candidates, Sanjar Kadyraliev and Mamat Orozbayev, hurled stones at one another and damaged cars. Local authorities managed to restore public order, but the vote did not occur and the contested seat, in the Tuzbel electoral district, remained vacant for a third straight month. RFE/RL contacted a member of Kyrgyzstan's Central Election Commission for comment on the incident; RFE/RL gave extensive coverage to the comments, which several local media outlets used in their reports (

...TALKS TO OSCE CHIEF... A Bishkek-based correspondent for RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service gained an exclusive interview with Ambassador Markus Muller, head of the OSCE center in the Kyrgyz capital, about the democratic commitment and stability of the country. Muller said in the program, aired on June 19, that a regional security risk does exist and that "Central Asian countries need to cooperate in fighting extremism and terrorism." Commenting on the volatile political situation inside Kyrgyzstan, he said the current government "has understood the need for a regular dialogue and negotiation with all political parties" but economic development is slow and that in turn is slowing democratization. Muller said that, "Everybody has understood the need for reform of the police, the office of the public-prosecutor, and the judiciary. Everyone knows there is a serious corruption problem in these institutions. The president, the government, and the parliament, have agreed on reforms and the fight against corruption as national goals." He also said he remains optimistic about the democratic process, and that among the countries in the region, Kyrgyzstan stands in the forefront of democratic development.
In the same interview, OSCE center head Ambassador Markus Muller was asked by the Kyrgyz Service about a Kyrgyz Supreme Court decision to deny refugee status to four Uzbek citizens, recognized as refugees by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, who remain in Kyrgyz detention since they fled Uzbekistan after the May 2005 massacre in Andijon. During the interview, broadcast on the eve of World Refugee Day, Muller told RFE/RL that there is no ambiguity in the case and that "for the OSCE and the UN system, all is clear, and in this situation, international law has to be applied." Muller continued, "[Kyrgyz] government institutions are very much aware of this fact and I think the international community is looking very closely at what will be the decision of the concerned authorities with respect to these refugees." (

...KYRGYZ HUMAN RIGHTS CXOMMISSIONER... In another interview, broadcast on World Refugee Day, the Kyrgyz Service spoke with Human Rights Commissioner, Tursunbek Akun, who reports directly to President Bakiev. Akun said that the four Uzbek refugees, being held in pre-trial detention in Osh, must be allowed to leave for a third country. The leader of the "Adilet" (Justice) NGO, Cholpon Jakupova, told the Kyrgyz Service that extraditing the refugees to Uzbekistan would be a serious violation of Kyrgyzstan's international commitments (

..LOOKS AT GROWING BAKIEV PERSONALITY CULT... A program aired by RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service on June 29 looked at the multiplying pictures and billboards featuring President Kurmanbek Bakiev in Kyrgyz cities and the impact of these materials on citizens. RFE/RL's correspondent in Osh filed a report on the reaction of residents and their opinions about whether this boosts the president's image. The report said some Kyrgyz citizens are criticizing local authorities in the Osh region for putting up giant Bakiev portraits on houses and streets, saying that the practice is reminiscent of the cult of personality of ousted president Askar Akayev (

...INTERVIEWS PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service gained an exclusive interview with Kyrgyz parliament speaker Marat Sultanov, who said on the June 19 broadcast that tensions exist between the executive and legislative branches in Kyrgyzstan, as well as between various political factions in parliament. This is not a tragedy, Sultanov said, noting that government officials must become accustomed to being criticized in parliament (

** The Director of RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service, Tyntchtykbek Tchoroev, may be reached by email at <>. The Kyrgyz Service's website is at http://www.; English-language news about events in Kyrgyzstan can be found at

TAJIK SERVICE MARKS PEACE ANNIVERSARY... RFE/RL's Tajik Service aired special programming throughout the week of June 26, to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the peace agreement that ended a 5-year civil war between the Tajik government and the United Tajik Opposition. Tajik President Imomali Rahmanov and opposition leader Said Abdullo Nuri signed the agreement on June 27, 1997 during a ceremony in Moscow attended by representatives of the two mediating parties, Russia and Iran, as well as Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, OSCE and the UN. The service, during its June 26 "Morning with Ozodi" show, addressed the anniversary with interviews of current and historical figures and a report on peace celebrations in the city of Rasht, which was once the scene of fierce fighting.
Abdul-Nabi Sattorzoda, a former opposition member who is now an adviser in the Tajik Foreign Ministry, said in an exclusive interview with RFE/RL that nine years ago "there used to be many military figures and people were armed. Today, everyone has come from across all regions of Tajikistan with open arms and is happy to celebrate peace and national unity." Others quoted in the special broadcasts included the Deputy Minister of Culture, Ibrahim Ossmanov, and the Deputy Prime Minister, Haji Akbar Turajonzoda, as well as the former Russian Deputy Prime Minister and former Iranian Ambassador to Tajikistan. In addition, the Tajik Service also aired a 1997 RFE/RL report on the peace accord from its correspondent Iskandar Khatloni, who was murdered in Moscow in September 2000.

...CONDUCTS INFORMAL PEACE POLL FOR NEW PROGRAM... RFE/RL's Tajik Service launched a revamped, livelier morning show on June 27. With moderators located in Prague and Dushanbe, the first show featured live, early morning interviews with members of the government and opposition, as well as an informal poll of young people on what has changed in their country during the nine years since the civil war ended. RFE/RL correspondents spoke to youth in Tajikistan's major cities of Garm, Khujand, Dushanbe, Panjekent, and Kurghanteppe as well as small villages around the country. For many young people, the lack of jobs was their biggest concern. They said they need jobs, better universities, better health facilities, less corruption and more justice. They said that peace is meaningless if they have to leave home and live abroad due to the lack of jobs in Tajikistan.

...RECORDS REMINISCENCE OF FORMER RUSSIAN NEGOTIATOR... Anatoly Adamishin, a former Minister for Cooperation with CIS countries and First Deputy Foreign Minister during Tajikistan's civil war, was a key player in the Tajik peace process. On June 27, Adamishin, who is now a senior fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, talked to RFE/RL Tajik Service correspondent Salimjon Aioubov about the anniversary of the peace accord, calling it "one of the most difficult tasks he encountered in his 40 years of diplomatic service."
Detailing his talks in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, Adamishin said, "We eventually managed to get everyone's consent and, in March 1994, I left for Tehran, where Haji Akbar Turajonzoda and Muhammad Sharif Khitmatzoda -- the most prominent leaders of the [Tajik] armed opposition -- were living. My task was to take them with me and convince them to conduct direct talks with the Tajik government. For two days I conducted difficult talks in Tehran, and since it was Ramadan, we could work only at night. Still, I managed to get their consent. In addition, the Iranians, who were actively involved in Tajik affairs, decided to help. They understood that it would be otherwise difficult for them to do anything in Tajikistan and we created a good working relationship on a regional level. Besides Iran, we also had to convince Pakistan that they should not interfere. We also had visit the Turks and convince them not to put up any obstacles" (

...INTERVIEWS THREATENED JOURNALIST RFE/RL's Tajik Service gave extensive coverage on June 21 to the case of Dodojon Atovulloyev, a Moscow-based Tajik journalist and editor of the monthly "Charogy Rus," who has received death threats in connection with his articles. In an RFE/RL interview, he said that, "The threats and insults came after publishing the last two issues of 'Charogy Rus.'" In the past two weeks, Atovulloyev has received telephone threats two or three times per day or more -- "It's like psychological terror. [The callers] speak in Russian; they speak like criminals," he said.
Annabelle Arki, from the French media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, told RFE/RL's Tajik Service that her organization is very concerned about Atovulloyev's safety. She said the last two issues of Atovulloyev's publication have been very critical of ties between Tajik and Russian authorities and "many journalists in Russia have been killed because of their articles." RFE/RL also broadcast an appeal from Reporters Without Borders calling on the Russian Interior Ministry to protect Atovulloyev, who was forced to leave Tajikistan in 2001 after being accused of insulting the president and "inciting national racial and religious hatred" (

** The Director of RFE/RL's Tajik Service, Massoumeh Torfeh, may be reached by email at <>. The Tajik Service's website is at; English-language news about events in Tajikistan can be found at

RFE/RL in the News

MEDIA AWARDS FOR RFE/RL SOUTH SLAVIC BROADCASTER IN CROATIA... Drago Hedl, a correspondent in Croatia for RFE/RL's South Slavic & Albanian Languages Service (SSALS), has won this year's Knight International Press Fellowship Awards, given by the Washington-based International Center for Journalists for "outstanding journalism and raising the standard of media excellence" ( Hedl, who is also an editor at the Croatian independent weekly "Feral Tribune," is being recognized for his investigative reporting on war crimes against Serbs in Croatia during the war in the 1990s. His reports were published in the "Feral Tribune" and broadcast on RFE/RL, and resulted in subsequent beatings, litigation and death threats. Hedl is being honored together with Shadha Muhammad Al-Jubori, BBC's Baghdad correspondent, and will travel to Washington for the ICFJ awards dinner on November 15.

...RFE/RL KAZAKH SERVICE BROADCASTER IN KAZAKHSTAN An Almaty-based correspondent for RFE/RL's Kazakh Service, Amangeldy Kenshilik-Uly, is this year's recipient of the Diploma of the Association of Independent Mass Media of Central Asian States and the "Journalists in Trouble" Social Fund Award. Kenshilik-Uly was presented with the Diploma at an award's ceremony in Almaty on June 30. The citation said that, "this Diploma is given to the best journalists of Central Asia, who have made a positive contribution in implementing the population's right to seek and receive free, independent, and plural information on social life in the region." Kenshilik-Uly was also being recognized for "objective coverage of the current situation in Kazakhstan and his devotion to the principles of freedom of speech."

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY MOBILIZES TO SUPPORT RFE/RL'S MURADOVA International press, media watchdog groups, and human rights organizations are demanding the immediate release of a reporter for RFE/RL's Turkmen Service. Ogulsapar Muradova was arrested by authorities in Ashgabat on June 18, 2006 ( Muradova was not charged and has now been held incommunicado for more than a month. Neither her family nor a lawyer has been allowed to see her, nor have they been told where and why she is being detained.

"NEW YORK SUN" QUOTES RFE/RL REPORT FOR RADIO FARDA The June 26 New York Sun carried an article "Iranian Judge Eludes Arrest in Europe" ( that quoted a Radio Farda news report broadcast to Iran that stated, "Mortazavi was displeased by the international reaction to his participation in the Iranian delegation to Geneva, particularly that the human rights group, headed by a Nobel Peace Prize winner, Shirin Ebadi, appealed against the prosecutor's presence in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Annan." Radio Farda is a joint project of RFE/RL and VOA, broadcasting in Persian to Iran 24 hours everyday.

TAJIK PEACE NEGOTIATOR PAYS TRIBUTE TO RFE/RL The head of a cease-fire commission that attempted to end the civil war in Tajikistan in the 1990s, says RFE/RL broadcasts played an important role in the peace efforts. During the celebrations of the 9th anniversary of the 1997 peace accord, Jalalodin Mahmoudov commented that, "In those years of war and fighting, the impact of your radio, especially your reporters of the time, was immense. I take this opportunity to thank every one of you for conveying the news [of war and peace] that proved to be extremely important at the time."

KAZAKH SERVICE HOSTS FILM DIRECTOR On June 29, RFE/RL's Prague broadcast center hosted the Director of the Central Asian Cinematography Center in Almaty, Gulnara Abikeyeva. She is a leading expert on Kazakh and Central Asian cinema and chaired the jury for this year's "East of the West" section of the Karlovy Vary film festival. At RFE/RL, Abikeyeva gave an overview of major trends in Central Asian cinema since the 1960s, as well as an exclusive interview for the Kazakh Service. She spoke about her DVD collection that includes the most popular films from the five Central Asian countries and, more recently, a growing collection of Central Asian documentaries.

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Copyright (c) 2006. RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved. "RFE/RL Review" is a weekly compilation of the best programming produced by the 19 services of the RFE/RL broadcast network. RFE/RL broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of programming a week in 28 languages to 20 countries in Eastern Europe, Russia, the Caucasus, and Central and Southwestern Asia.

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