A political activist detained in oil and gas-rich Turkmenistan is being denied access to necessary medical care, prompting concern about his health, human rights group Amnesty International said on Wednesday.
The group said Valeri Pal, 59, was detained in February on suspicion of theft in 2004 from an oil refinery where he used to work.
"He is suffering from ill-health and is being denied access to the proper medical treatment he urgently needs," it said in a statement.
The Turkmen foreign ministry said it had no information on the case and that it was checking the report.
Human rights groups have accused the Caspian nation of violating basic rights and detaining political prisoners.
The former Soviet country, isolated under the late dictator Saparmurat Niyazov, has shown signs of political tolerance since its new president, Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, came to power in late 2006.
Berdymukhamedov has vowed to open up Turkmenistan and press ahead with liberal reform, but rights groups have urged him to show more commitment to democratic change.
Amnesty said Pal, who suffered a stroke in 2004, had yet to be charged.
It quoted Vyacheslav Mamedov, director-in-exile of the Democratic Civil Union of Turkmenistan, as saying Pal was involved in peaceful community activities and took part in protests against various social problems.
"I believe that certain people in the authorities and the management of the company colluded in fabricating the case against Valeri Pal to get him out of the way," he told Amnesty.