The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is informed about the release of journalist Azatlyk Khudayberdy Allashov and his mother from prison on 15 February. Allashov was given a three-year conditional sentences.
Allashov, his wife and mother were detained on 3 December 2016 in Turkmenistan’s Dashoguz region on charges of possessing a banned substance: 11 kilograms of chewing tobacco, a product banned since 2008. It was later confirmed by several sources that Allashov was severely beaten and admitted being guilty of the charges under coercion.
One other independent journalist, Saparmamed Nepeskuliev, also working for Radio Azatlyk, was tried secretly without a lawyer after he was detained in July 2015, and was given a three-year jail sentence for drug possession.
Turkmen media are all controlled by the state. Independent local correspondents working for international-based media have to work underground because of the risk of prison.
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe.