Oct 26, 2006

Iraqi Turkmen: Dissident Released From Psychiatric Detention

The daughter of Turkmen political dissident Kakabay Tejenov has told RFE/RL's Turkmen Service that her father appears to have been released from forced psychiatric detention.

Olga Tejenova told RFE/RL from Moscow today that her 70-year-old father is currently in a hospital in the eastern city of Turkmenabat, formerly known as Charjew.
"My neighbor called me [on October 23]; she told me my father had been released," Tejenova said. "[The neighbor] said my father had been transferred to a hospital to undergo surgery. He already had surgery in February, as far as I know, but apparently his state of health required that he have another [operation]. Neighbors have already visited him [in the hospital]; they say his health is okay. The only problem is that he got a lot thinner. But his health is satisfactory."
Tejenova said she hoped her father would soon be released from the hospital.
It was not immediately clear what prompted authorities to release Tejenov.
However, Tejenova suggested that he may have benefited from October's traditional presidential amnesty, under which more than 10,000 inmates were set free.
Tejenov was arrested in January and sent to a psychiatric hospital under charges that remain unclear.
Turkmen authorities have consistently denied rights groups' reports that he had been detained, or even confined to a psychiatric institution.
Prior to his detention, Tejenov had sent letters of protest to local authorities in which he decried the policies of President Saparmurat Niyazov's government.
He is the author of a "Statement on Human Rights Violations in Turkmenistan," which he tried to circulate among foreign embassies and international organizations.