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RFE/RL Review September 30, 2007

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The Best of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Reporting
September 1-30, 2007
Azerbaijani Service Breaks Story of Opposition Politician's Detention in Psych Ward
On September 20, the Azerbaijani Service revealed that the government was detaining opposition member Alesker Ismaylov in a psychiatric hospital in order to silence him. The Service broadcast extensive coverage of the detention, including an exclusive interview with the 70-year-old politician from his room in the hospital. The Service's report led to pressure from international human rights groups and the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan, and the government released Ismaylov on October 4.
** The Director of RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service, Kenan Aliyev, may be reached by email at <>. The Azerbaijani Service's website is at; English-language news about events in Azerbaijan can be found at
RFE/RL Analyzes Changes in Russian Government
Throughout September, RFE/RL delivered in-depth coverage and analysis of the surprising changes that took place within the Russian government--in particular the appointment of Viktor Zubkov, a virtual unknown in Russia, to the position of Prime Minister. The Russian Service broadcast interviews with a number of political analysts and opposition figures; the Central Newsroom prepared a "who's who" report on the new government; and Regional Analyst Viktor Yasmann wrote an incisive essay on the preponderance of siloviki (people with ties to the KGB or its successor organization) in the government.
** 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
Kazakh Service Explains Context OF New Foreign Investment Law
The Kazakh Service was the only media outlet in Kazakhstan to connect for audiences all the events that led to controversial new amendments to the law on foreign investment. Under the amendments, the Kazakh government has the power to annul or amend any contract with any international corporation operating on Kazakh territory if officials find that the international partner has violated Kazakh law. The Kazakh Parliament introduced the amendments when the government suspended the operations of an international consortium led by an Italian company in one of the world's most expensive projects--the exploration of the Qashaghan oil field. The government alleges that the consortium has been violating environmental laws. Immediately after the amendments were adopted, the government required two U.S. corporations operating in Kazakhstan, Chevron and AES, to suspend their operations and to pay enormous fees for breaking laws on competition and the environment. To provide context and analysis for this complex story, the Service interviewed international and local experts, politicians, oil workers, and ordinary citizens.
** 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
Ukrainians Turn to RFE/RL Website for Election News and Information
The Ukrainian Service's website provided the people of Ukraine with a comprehensive guide to the parliamentary elections that concluded on September 30. Before the election, visitors to the site could find information on the parties, the various election districts, international observers, and foreign press coverage. Once voting commenced, the site featured a vote-themed photo gallery and stories about Ukrainians abroad who took part in the election.
** The Director of RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service, Irena Chalupa, may be reached by email at <>. The Ukrainian Service's website is at; English-language news about events in Ukraine can be found at
Turkmen Service Commemorates Anniversary of Correspondent's Mysterious Death...
On September 14, the Turkmen Service marked the first anniversary of the unexplained death in prison of Ogulsapar Muradova, a human rights activist and a correspondent for RFE/RL's Turkmen-language broadcasts. One year later, the circumstances of Muradova's death remain shrouded in mystery—no one has been charged with any crime, and not even the date of her death is known. After a sham trial in August 2006, her family was not permitted to see her until September 14, when her daughters were abruptly taken to the Ashgabat city morgue and asked to take custody of her body, which had a visible head wound. The Turkmen Service remembered Muradova with special programming focusing on her commitment to human rights.
...Reports on Massive New Amnesty
The Turkmen Service reported on September 6 that the government announced a massive new amnesty at its cabinet meeting that day. Over 9,000 convicts, including 1,370 women and 60 minors, were pardoned under the amnesty. The Service broadcast in-depth analysis of the amnesty, including the substantial difficulties the pardoned convicts face in assimilating back into society.
** The Director of RFE/RL's Turkmen Service, Oguljamal Yazliyeva, may be reached by email at <>. English-language news about events in Turkmenistan can be found at
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Copyright © 2007. 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.
Acting Editor: Anna Siskova <>
For more information about any of the stories mentioned in "RFE/RL Review," or to learn more about RFE/RL, please contact Martins Zvaners at <> or by calling +1-202-457-6948.