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RFE/RL Journalist Threatened Again In Turkmenistan


RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reporter Soltan Achilova

Soltan Achilova, a veteran correspondent with RFE/RL’s Turkmen Service, was threatened again in the most recent of several incidents targeting her for her journalism over the last 18 months.

Achilova told RFE/RL that a dark-colored car followed her as she boarded a bus early on November 14, and continued to follow her as she headed to the Information Center of the U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat. She said a man got out of the car and boarded the bus that took her there. "He was a tanned man, 25-30 years old, wearing a black jacket and blue trousers," she said. One of the men from the car resumed following her when she left the Information Center to photograph people queuing for sunflower oil at a local shop. He yelled obscenities and told her to stop taking pictures, and then shouted, “I'll take a stone and break your head if you ever take a camera in your hands. I'll destroy it along with you." He told her to "go home, stay in the house. If you leave, you die.” The car then followed Achilova to her house.

Achilova, 68, was physically attacked numerous times over the course of several months late last year.

In its October 25 statement, Human Rights Watch condemned the incidents, characterizing them as "an attempt to limit criticism" of the Turkmen government.

RFE/RL President Thomas Kent has condemned the attacks against Achilova, and called for an end to impunity against attacks on journalists in Turkmenistan.

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