• Germany's news in English
Merkel urged to address Turkmenistan rights record
Angela Merkel with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. Photo: DPA

Merkel urged to address Turkmenistan rights record

AFP · 25 Aug 2016, 15:59

Published: 25 Aug 2016 15:59 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The monitoring group said the rare visit to Germany by Turkmenistan's reclusive president Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov on Monday should be used to tackle the plight of activists.

"Chancellor Angela Merkel should not waste this opportunity to directly and insistently call for oppression in Turkmenistan to be ended," said HRW's director for Europe and Central Asia, Hugh Williamson.

Dozens of people were arrested in the late 1990s and early 2000s and vanished in the country's prison system, and their families received no official word on their whereabouts or wellbeing, he said.

HRW highlighted the disappearances of opposition leader Boris Shikhmuradov, his brother Konstantin and former OSCE ambassador Batyr Berdiev as key cases to address.

It also referred to local reporter Saparmamed Nepeskuliev, who has been incarcerated for almost a year on narcotics charges.

"Chancellor Merkel should press Berdymukhamedov for Nepeskuliev's release," Williamson said.

"He is sitting in prison for doing what correspondents around the world do: he shares information about what is happening in his country."

Germany should urge Turkmenistan to submit a new draft constitution that would include no term limits for the president, allow censorship and offer no protection of the freedom of movement of its citizens to international review, HRW said.

Story continues below…

Williamson noted that Turkmenistan had already imposed a travel ban on many dissidents, a policy he said should make Merkel particularly wary given that she grew up in communist East Germany which had similar restrictions.

Rights groups regularly list ex-Soviet Turkmenistan, which has the world's fourth largest known reserves of natural gas, as one of the least free states.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Ex-chancellor Schröder to mediate in supermarket row
Gerhard Schröder. Photo: DPA

Can Gerhard Schröder bring an end to the Kaiser's Tengelmann saga?

Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd