Turkmenistan: Émigré News Site Struggles Back Online
Chronicles of Turkmenistan, the website maintained by the Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights (TIHR) at chrono-tm.org, came back online today after a crippling hacker attack Monday.
Normally available in Turkmen, Russian and English with multiple content rubrics and features, chrono-tm.org is currently only partially restored with some Russian-language news reports and photos but editors plan to return to full strength as soon as possible.
Farid Tuhbatullin, the site editor and head of TIHR said in a press statement via email July 19 that his site was deliberately disabled and a message sent out threatening further attacks. Formerly hidden emails of subscribers and their comments were exposed and posted. The attack was believed to have been launched by Turkmen security agents in retaliation for independent coverage of the explosion in Abadan.
Tuhbatullin has been subjected to death threats believed to emanate from Turkmen security agents in the past.
In Turkmenistan, Tuhbatullin's mother has recently been repeatedly visited and questioned by local authorities attempting to find out about her son's activities, creating a constant climate of intimidation for the elderly woman.
Tuhbatullin vowed to continue providing independent news from Turkmenistan:
If the Turkmen authorities had arguments refuting our publications, they would need neither public statements, nor covert repressions and other actions designed to suppress freedom of speech. They do not have any arguments, nor can they realize that one can fight against freedom of speech but cannot defeat it.