EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: EUR 61/02/94
UA 389/94 "Disappearance" 31 October 1994
TURKMENISTAN Yusup Kuliyev, journalist
(in cyrillic ____ ______)
Yusup Kuliyev has "disappeared". On 20 October 1994, he was reportedly by
agents of the Committee for State Security (KGB) at his home in the capital,
Ashgabat. No reason was given for his arrest at that time, but it was apparently
part of a round-up of known or suspected government opponents who were taken
into police custody prior to Turkmenistan's independence day celebrations on
27 October. All the others have since been released. Yusup Kuliyev has not
been released, and his family has been unable to obtain any information about
Turkmenistan's 1992 independence day holiday was similarly preceded by the
detention of known or suspected government opponents: the authorities were
apparently acting to prevent any possible disruption to celebrations.
Government opponents are also frequently detained in Turkmenistan to prevent
them meeting visiting foreign dignitaries. These detentions normally last
only a few days, however.
Yusup Kuliyev is a former employee of the state newspaper Esh Kommunist (Young
Communist), and more recently has worked as an editor at a documentary film
studio and as a stringer for the US-financed Radio Liberty (based in Germany).
Turkmenistan is led by President Saparmurad Niyazov. There are two registered
political parties, the Democratic Party (the renamed Communist Party, of which
Saparmurad Niyazov is chairman) and the Peasants' Party for Justice, which
also supports the President. A rival Democratic Party and the Agzybirlik
movement are not officially registered, and their activists have been forced
by official harassment to work underground or have gone into exile. In
presidential elections in June 1992, Saparmurad Niyazov ran unopposed and was
returned to office with 95.5 per cent of the vote. In January 1994 a proposal
to extend the President's current term from five to 10 years was overwhelmingly
endorsed in a referendum. A cult of personality is being actively promoted
around President Niyazov.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters either in Russian, English or in your own language:
- calling on the authorities to clarify the whereabouts of Yusup Kuliyev, and
to release him if he is not to be charged with a recognizably criminal offence;
- calling on the authorities to guarantee the physical safety and well being
of Yusup Kuliyev, noting that the victims of "disappearance" are especially
vulnerable to torture or extrajudicial execution;
- calling on the authorities to put a stop immediately to all forms of harassment
and persecution, including short-term detention, of people who have sought
peacefully to exercise their fundamental human rights.