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Volume 450: debated on Thursday 12 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions (a) she, (b) officials in her Department and (c) UK representatives in Turkmenistan have had with members and representatives of the government of Turkmenistan concerning the (i) grounds and (ii) conditions of detention of (A) Annankurban Armanklychev, (B) Ogulsapar Muradova and (C) Sapardurdy Khadjiev; and if she will make a statement. (89484)

Our Ambassador in Ashgabat has been following the cases of Annakurban Amanklychev, Ogulsapar Muradova and Sapardurdy Khadjiev extremely closely. He has been in regular touch with the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Centre in Ashgabat and worked alongside the local EU presidency, who have taken the lead in contacting the Turkmen authorities. The fact that no international observers were allowed into the trial of the three co-accused raises serious questions about whether due process of law was observed.

We are deeply perturbed by the circumstances of the tragic death of Mrs Muradova and we have expressed our profound sympathy to Mrs Muradova’s family. Our ambassador has invited her family to meet him and other EU Heads of Mission. The EU presidency issued a statement on 15 September expressing strong concern about her death, and about the trial, and calling on the Government of Turkmenistan to respect its international obligations and to guarantee the safety of Mrs Muradova’s family members, and of Khadjiev and Amanklychev. The text of the presidency statement is available on the following website:

We note the willingness expressed by the Turkmen Government to pass the post-mortem report to the family and hope that this will clarify the cause of death. Through the OSCE, we have called on the Turkmen Government to safeguard the rights of the family under Turkmen law and made clear that we expect Amanklychev and Khadjiev to be treated humanely in accordance with Turkmenistan’s international obligations.

We and our EU and OSCE partners will continue to follow this case closely.