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  For Democracy and Human Rights in Turkmenistan
21.07.2018  
NEWS 2017 .
       
13.12.2017, 12:35 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Jailed Turkmen Animal Rights Activist Visited By Daughter After Days Held Incommunicado

The daughter of a jailed Turkmen animal rights activist has brought her mother warm clothing, making the first visit permitted by the authorities since police stormed Galina Kucherenko's apartment and arrested her.

Human rights advocate Natalya Shabunts told RFE/RL that she and Kucherenko's daughter Valeria were allowed to visit the activist at a police detention center on the outskirts of Turkmenistan's capital, Ashgabat, on December 12.

Shabunts added that Valeria was allowed to hand warm clothes over to her mother, who was sentenced to 15 days in jail for what police said were unsanitary conditions caused by an excessive number of pets in her apartment.

Kucherenko had been held incommunicado since her arrest on December 7.

Shabunts and Human Rights Watch (HRW) said earlier that Kucherenko, 52, was detained along with Valeria after police raided their apartment in Ashgabat. Valeria was later released.

Rights activists say Kucherenko has received numerous threats from law enforcement officials in Ashgabat for her efforts to prevent what she says are mass killings of stray dogs and cats by the authorities in the Central Asian country.

On December 8, HRW said Turkmenistan's international partners should urgently and publicly call on the Turkmen government to disclose Kucherenko's whereabouts and release her immediately.

09.12.2017, 12:31 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Turkmenistan Detains Animal-Rights Activist

Police in Turkmenistan have detained a noted animal-rights activist who colleagues say had previously faced threats due to her efforts against the killing of stray cats and dogs.

Galina Kucherenko, 52, was detained along with her adult daughter on December 7 after police stormed their apartment in the capital, Ashgabat, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW) and a colleague.

Turkmen human rights activist Natalya Shabunts told the foreign-based Alternative News of Turkmenistan news agency that Kucherenko phoned her that day and told her that unknown people had entered her apartment and were trying to take her away.

Minutes later, Kucherenko's daughter, Valeria, phoned Shabunts and told her that police had forcibly removed her and her mother from their apartment, the report said.

Shabunts came to Kucherenko's apartment but found it locked with a dog barking inside, according to the report.

HRW said in a December 8 statement that police dragged Kucherenko across the floor as they were detaining her, and that the activist's current whereabouts was unknown.

An HRW researcher spoke with an officer at the Ashgabat police station where Valeria Kucherenko, who was subsequently released, was taken, the statement said.

The officer told the researcher by phone that Galina Kucherenko had been taken to court but did not provide details on when she would appear before the court, what charges she would face, and where she would be taken after her court appearance, according to the statement.

Rights activists say Kucherenko has received numerous threats from law enforcement officials in Ashgabat for her activities against mass killings by the authorities of stray dogs and cats in the Central Asian country.

The detention of Kucherenko and her daughter is a stark reminder of the threat that people in Turkmenistan face if they criticize the government, Rachel Denber, HRW's deputy director for Europe and Central Asia, said.

The Turkmen government tolerates no criticism, not even on the treatment of stray animals, she added.

HRW said Turkmenistan's international partners should urgently and publicly call on the Turkmen government to disclose Kucherenko's whereabouts and release her immediately.

There were no official statements from Turkmen authorities regarding the reported detentions.

With reporting by Habartm.org

07.12.2017, 12:23 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Turkmenistan, Iran To Seek Mediation Of USD 1.8 Billion Gas Dispute

The energy-rich Central Asian state halted shipments of natural gas to Iran at the start of the year, saying Iran owed USD 1.8 billion for supplies it never paid for.

Myrat Archaev, the head of Turkmenistan's state-controlled Turkmengas company, reported that negotiations with Iran over the dispute had been unsuccessful, and the Iranian side had proposed taking the matter to arbitration.

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov instructed Archaev to accept the offer to seek mediation in an international arbitration court, according to the Turkmen state news agency and Neutral Turkmenistan newspaper on December 5.

Turkmenistan exported gas to Iran under a 1997 agreement, but occasionally raised its prices during the winter.

In 2006, it suspended shipments and demanded a nine-fold price increase. Iran eventually accepted the higher prices for a short period.

In 2016, Russia stopped buying gas from Turkmenistan. With the cutoff of supplies to Iran, Ashbagat is now left with China as its sole customer.

With reporting by AP and Interfax

06.12.2017, 12:26 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Lavrov Says 'Key Issues' Regarding Caspian Legal Status Solved

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said the five Caspian states have agreed on all the outstanding key issues regarding the legal status of the Caspian Sea.

Lavrov made the announcement in Moscow on December 5 after meeting with his counterparts from Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan.

Russia's top diplomat said the draft text of the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea was practically ready to be signed by the presidents of the Caspian states at their summit in Kazakhstan next year.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said that there is a need for maximum efforts to reach a consensus on all remaining issues before the summit.

The foreign ministers did not say what the remaining sticking points were.

The Caspian Sea is the largest inland body of water in the world, with huge hydrocarbon resources.

Its legal regime has been under discussion since 1991, when Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan gained independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union,

If the Caspian is legally declared a sea, all five littoral countries would map out their territorial waters and exploit the resources as they see fit.

If it is designated as a lake, all the resources of the Caspian, and profits from those resources, would be split equally among the five countries.

Based on reporting by apa.az, Interfax, and TASS