ASHGABAT, May 21, 2010 (RFE/RL) -- Turkmenistan’s Migration Office in Ashgabat banned an RFE/RL journalist from entering the country although he had a valid visa, RFE/RL’s Turkmen Service reports.
Allamourad Rakhimov, a Prague-based RFE/RL broadcaster and native Turkmen, arrived at Ashgabat airport early on Wednesday (May 19) with a visa that was initiated by his family.
Rakhimov, a Canadian citizen, was planning to vacation in his home village in the southeast Mary Province. He had not been to Turkmenistan in 11 years and has been unable to see his immediate family in that time.
But he was refused entry at the airport and was almost immediately put back on a plane to Prague.
The reason for his ban is unclear. Rakhimov was given a letter from the Migration Office stating that "he is banned from entering Turkmenistan." He believes the reason he was not allowed to enter is due to his work as a journalist at RFE/RL.
Rakhimov has worked for RFE/RL’s Turkmen Service since 2003. (Turkmen Service/oy/ar/pmb)