Failure to protect against return to torture or other ill-treatment collaboration and collusion between authorities in CIS countries
According to the authorities, opposition supporters carried out an assassination attempt on then-President Saparmurad Niyazov in November 2002 in the capital Ashgabat. Dozens of people were subjected to enforced disappearance. At least 59 people were convicted in unfair trials between December 2002 and January 2003, including Boris Shikhmuradov, Foreign Minister from 1995 until 2000, who was sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment in a closed trial on 29 December 2002. The People’s Council (Khalk Maslakhaty) reportedly increased his sentence to life imprisonment the next day. Reportedly, many of those accused of involvement in the alleged assassination attempt were tortured and put under psychological pressure to confess and incriminate others. Boris Shikhmuradov’s televised ‘confession’ was broadcast on 29 December 2002 and there were reports that the text of the confession was dictated to him. Despite repeated requests for information, Boris Shikhmuradov’s family have still received no news about his current whereabouts.