U.S. Department of State
Press Statement by James P. Rubin, Spokesman
Turkmenistan: Trial of Dissident Nurberdy Nurmamedov
The United States deeply deplores the circumstances of the arrest, trial and February 25 sentencing of Turkmen political activist Nurberdy Nurmamedov. As recently noted by the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, the actions of the Government of Turkmenistan bring into serious question its commitment to OSCE principles and internationally recognized standards of human rights.
The handling of Mr. Nurmamedov's case falls far short of any acceptable standard of judicial due process. The trial was conducted in less than a day, and he was sentenced to five years of hard labor for attempted murder and the Soviet-era catchall crime of "hooliganism." The charges were based on a purely verbal altercation Mr. Nurmamedov had with a business partner, who himself stated that he had been neither threatened nor assaulted. Only a few family members were allowed to attend the trial, while U.S. and other foreign diplomats were denied the right to observe the proceedings.
In addition, Mr. Nurmamedov's son Murat, who was never arrested or formally charged, was called as a witness at his father's trial. He was then informed at the trial that he was a co-defendant and was summarily sentenced to two year's of hard labor.
The cases of Nurberdy and Murat Nurmamedov are unfortunate examples of the Government of Turkmenistan's continued disregard for internationally-recognized human rights. The U.S. Government believes that Nurberdy Nurmamedov deserves a new trial, conforming with the principles of due process and open to family and international observers. Murat Nurmamedov, who was never arrested or formally charged, should be released. The United States calls again on the Government of Turkmenistan to fully live up to its OSCE commitments and respect the rights of its citizens.
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