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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2003 > April
Press Statement
Philip T. Reeker, Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
April 2, 2003


Amnesty of Environmental Activist in Turkmenistan

The United States welcomes the Government of Turkmenistan's amnesty of environmental activist Farid Tukhbatullin.

Mr. Tukhbatullin was convicted on March 4 of illegally crossing the Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan border and of "concealing a crime" -- attending a meeting of civil society representatives in Moscow. Since his arrest, the United States, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and other concerned governments and organizations have sought Mr. Tukhbatullin's release. The Government of Turkmenistan announced his amnesty on April 1.

Mr. Tukhbatullin's "confession" -- a requirement for his amnesty -- was printed in Turkmen newspapers on April 2. Since Mr. Tukhbatullin's trial was neither transparent nor in accord with Turkmen or international standards of due process, the legitimacy of this document is open to question.

Nevertheless, Mr. Tukhbatullin's amnesty is a welcome step. The United States encourages the Government of Turkmenistan to respond in a similar positive fashion to other recommendations on human rights issues made by the UN and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Released on April 2, 2003

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