Turkmenistan: RFE/RL Journalist Detained, Threatened over Coverage of Blast
Turkmen journalist Dovletmurad Yazguliyev, who works as a correspondent for the US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), was threatened with criminal charges for blogging about the Abadan explosion, RFE/RL reported.
Police summoned Yazguliyev for questioning in the town of Annau, a suburb of Ashgabat, where he lives. When he arrived, he faced an officer of the National Security Ministry:
Yazguliyev was accused by the security officer of "slandering and disseminating provocative information" regarding the Abadan blasts. But he said he replied that he stood by the reports in the blogs he wrote for RFE/RL and suggested that he and the security officers visit Abadan to investigate the facts in his reports.
Yazguliyev, who is in his 40s, said he was treated well and in a polite manner while being questioned.
But he said he was warned that if he is summoned by security forces again because of his blogs he will be charged with "disseminating defamatory information through the media" and "causing national, social, and religious provocations."
Yazguliyev criticized the authorities for their slow response, and like other bloggers, claimed there were hundreds of deaths, not just the 15 admitted by the government. If found guilty of "defamation" and "instigation" he could face two and five years of prison.
A number of citizen journalists have been stopped by police and had their cameras confiscated as they attempted to cover the aftermath of the explosion.
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