Halmurad Gylychdurdiyev, a 70 years old inhabitant of Ashgabat, was detained by three officers of the Ministry for National Security (MNS) on 23 June 2004.
Since 2001 he started to openly give interviews to the US Radio Liberty based in Turkmenistan. As a matter of fact, his discussions were not related to politics. However, he did openly criticize the arbitrariness of the Turkmen officials and discussed important cultural and artistic issues. Some days ago Gylychdurdiyev was one of the participants of the ‘round table’ discussions arranged by Radio Liberty, where he was asked:” Are you not afraid of participating in our programmes?”
According to received information, Gylychdurdiyev was summoned to the MNS shortly before his detention. However, there was no signature, no stamp nor surname on the summons. In addition, an MNS officer, introducing himself as Dovletmurad Karayev, repeatedly called him (tel. 39 37 98). Gylychdurdiyev demanded that either the summons be issued properly by the MNS staff or a warrant be submitted from the public prosecutor’s office.
On 22 June Gylychdurdiyev had a cataract operation. The same day several Secret Service officers came to his house and attempted to take him to the MNS. One of the officers gave his name as Berdiev. The officials, however, failed to present the documents confirming their identities. Gylychdurdiyev’s wife, Galina, insisted that Halmurad had to stay in bed after his recent surgery, whereupon one of the officers entered Halmurad’s bedroom to see if she was telling the truth.
The next day Halmurad Gylychmuradov went to the eye hospital to have the bandage removed and a check-up. At 10 a.m., as soon as the procedure was over, the three officers immediately took him to the MNS. This fact was confirmed by his hospital doctor.
We were also informed that the day before Gylychdurdiyev was detained the MNS officer Dovletmurat Karayev called him demanding that he report to their office “for a talk”. In response Gylychdurdiev said:” We have talked already several times. I answered all your questions. Why are you still persecuting me? Leave me alone!”
The officials reportedly demanded that Gylychdurdiyev stop his contact with the Radio Liberty in Turkmenistan.
Yesterday Gylychdurdiyev’s relatives went to the MNS office asking for Halmurad’s release as he needed further treatment. The officers on duty, however, at first denied his detention. Furthermore, these same officers were unable to confirm the names of the MNS officers who had ‘visited’ the Gylychdurdievs and telephoned Halmurad; they could only verify the surname of the officer Berdiev. His first name, as it turned out, was fictitious. The name of Dovletmurad Karayev allegedly was not on the list of the MNS officers at all. The relatives waited in the duty unit of the MNS till late at night when they finally heard from the officer on duty:” The interview is still in progress”. No other explanations were given.
Guluchdurdiev’s wife wants to send a written complaint to the appropriate bodies.
Background information. Halmurad Gylychdurdiyev is a higher education specialist with 40 years of experience in filming gained at the Alty Karliyev film studio. After the film studio was closed down he had to arrange his private film studio. He made several documentary films, including one about Chary Hanamov, the Socialist Labour Hero and some other documentaries about the rural Turkmenistan.
Some years ago Gylychdurdiev made repeated appeals to all banks and appropriate institutions in Turkmenistan asking them to assist in exchanging the local currency for US Dollars - for the films to be shown it was necessary to finish them in one of the Russian film studios. However, “he was not even listened to; he was knocking on a closed door “. Gylychdurdiev appealed to legal bodies against the unlawful refusal of the Turkmen officials.
Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation
24 june 2004