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Charges Against Farid Tukhbatullin are Forwarded to Public Prosecutor's Office

Ecoport news service

February 2003.
The Ministry of National Security (MNS) of Turkmenistan have finished investigation into the case of Farid Tukhbatullin, the member of the International Socio-ecological Union, and the activist of Dashoguza environmental club. It became known that 20th January the indictment was submitted for approval to the office of public prosecutor.

In December 2002 Tukhbatullin was accused of offence provided by article 210 part 1 and article 214 part 1 of the Criminal Code of Turkmenistan. The article 210 part 1 provides punishment up to 2 years of correctional labour or up to 3 years of imprisonment for "non-disclosure of information known for sure about imminent crime, grave or very grave". The article 214 part 1 provides punishment up to 2 years of imprisonment or correctional labour for "crossing of guarded state boundary of Turkmenistan without appropriate documents and sanction".

The MNS investigator Vladimir Khidjuk has accused the environmentalist of that, he ostensibly "possessing the information about the planned action against the president of Turkmenistan from the direction of the group of B.Shikhmuradov, has not informed the relevant authorities of Turkmenistan for verification of the data and prevention of intentions planned by B.Shikhmuradov". Ostensibly, Farid have heard of the imminent attempt at the President of Turkmenistan on the human rights conference in Moscow in November, 2002.

In his testimony Tukhbatullin denies that the speeches on the conference contained any information about preparing attempt. The audio tape of the conference, which "Memorial" Human Rights Centre has handed over to the defense, also testifies that the participants of the conference did not say anything about preparing revolution.

The second accusation preferred to Tukhbatullin is concerned to his trip to Uzbekistan at September 29, 2001. Seeing off the relatives, he has gone away to Urgench through "Dashoguza" check-point and then returned home this very day. According to the version of investigators, when Tukhbatullin had been returning home he has illegally crossed the state border outside of the check-point. Tukhbatullin himself categorically denies this accusation. He said that at departure from Turkmenistan his passport data were written down into a special journal, besides he received on the check-point a registration coupon, which he has passed back at the same post. For unknown reason the data on his returning were not entered into registration journal.

Tukhbatullin insists on his own innocence since the first day of his detention, notwithstanding the attempts of the duty attorney of the Ministry of National Security to persuade him "to plead guilty and to repent". Since January 2003 Timur Misrikhanov - another lawyer, employed by the relatives of the environmentalist - conducts his defense.

For the month since the moment of arrest of Tukhbatullin the investigator of the Ministry of National Security did not permit him to receive parcels and to meet with relatives. The request for meeting with Tukhbatullin, directed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan by the Centre of OSCE in Ashkhabad was also left without answer. Only 21st January the authority permitted to hand over food, clothes and books to Tukhbatullin.

It is expected that the trial on Tukhbatullin's case will be held in February. The local sources do not exclude, however, that this obviously trumped-up case can be returned for further examination.

Several human right defenders from abroad have informed that they are ready to arrive in Turkmenistan and to testimony in court. But it is not clear, whether Turkmen authorities to permit participation of foreign citizens in legal proceedings.

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