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International Media & NGOs Defend RFE/RL Reporter

Journalist Dovletmyrat Yazkuliev, a stringer for RFE/RL's Turkmen Service, was convicted by a Turkmen court yesterday in a sham trial -- in which Yazkuliev was not represented by a lawyer -- conducted after business hours and behind closed doors. Yazkuliev was sentenced to five years in prison for "influencing or abetting" the attempted suicide of a member of his family.

The conviction was handed down just a week after Yazkuliev was arrested on September 27. Yazkuliev has been threatened by Turkmenistan's government for his reporting before, and his family has no doubt that the bogus charges levied against him are part of a politically-motivated effort to end his journalistic efforts. In 2006, RFE/RL Turkmen correspondent Ogulsapar Muradova was tortured to death in a Turkmen prison shortly after her arrest.

International media and non-governmental organizations have spoken out forcefully on Yazkuliev's behalf to demand his immediate release:

Turkmenistan Imprisons Reporter For Five Years
James Kilner | The Telegraph
October 7, 2011

Turkmenistan: Reporter Jailed For His 'Independence'
The Independent
October 7, 2011

US Watchdog Urges Release Of Jailed Turkmen Reporter
Dmitry Solovyov | Reuters
October 6, 2011

Five-Year Sentence For RFE/RL Correspondent
Reporters Without Borders
October 5, 2011

RFE/RL Reporter Sentenced to Five Years In Jail
Freedom House
October 5, 2011

Reporter Gets Five Years In Turkmenistan
Committee to Protect Journalists
October 5, 2011