Update September 15, 2016
On September 14, the Belarusian prosecutor’s office denied the Turkmen government’s request to extradite Chary Annamuradov, the former dissident and journalist from Turkmenistan. Belarusian authorities released him from custody and allowed him to fly home to Sweden. “The prosecutor’s office did the right thing,” said Rachel Denber, deputy Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “They have protected him from certain, wrongful imprisonment and severe abuse. It’s regrettable, though, that he had to spend two months in jail before the decision was made.” Belarusian border police had arrested Annamuradov in the Minsk airport on July 19 on the basis of a 10-year-old international arrest warrant as he arrived from Sweden to Belarus on vacation with his 16-year-old daughter. Annamuradov has been living in Sweden since he was granted asylum there in 2003. He is a citizen of both Sweden and Russia.
(Berlin) – Belarusian authorities are holding a former journalist from Turkmenistan on an extradition request by the Turkmen government, Human Rights Watch said today. They should immediately release the former journalist, Chary Annamuradov, and under no circumstances extradite or otherwise return him to Turkmenistan, where he would face torture and ill-treatment in custody.
Annamuradov, 58, worked as an independent journalist in Turkmenistan in the 1990s but had to flee the country in 1999 due to persecution and obtained asylum in Sweden in 2003. He has both Swedish and Russian citizenship and continued to work as a journalist until 2008.
“The Turkmen government has a long record of ruthlessly persecuting critics, including journalists,” said Rachel Denber, deputy Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “If Annamuradov is returned to Turkmenistan, there is little doubt the government would unjustly jail and abuse him.”