Source Pravda.Ru

Tukrmenistan's opposition activists face life imprisonment

On Monday, Turkmenistan's People's Council changed Boris Shikhmuradov's sentence of 25 years in prison for life imprisonment.

For that the republic's legislative body had had to pass a special amendment envisaging life imprisonment for traitors to the country.

Today's meeting of the People's Council announced that the republican Supreme Court had passed the above sentence in relation to Shikhmuradov and three other persons who the government accuses of masterminding a coup attempt. They had all originally been sentenced to 25 years in prison for masterminding the coup d'etat, an attempt on the president's life and a dozen of other crimes.

Shikhmuradov was to serve 5 years of the sentence in prison and the rest of 20 years in a labour camp.

A similar sentence was passed yesterday to former Vice-Premier and Central Bank chief Khudaiberdy Orazov, Nurmukhamed Khanamov, an ex-ambassador to Turkey, and former Agriculture Minister Sapar Yklymov. The sentence was passed in absentia since they are outside the republic at the moment.

The People's Council, however, thought the sentence was too light. All the speakers at today's meeting demanded the four be sentenced to death. Yet, a moratorium on the death penalty has been in force in the republic since 1999. Besides, the longest prison term according to the Turkmen Criminal Code is 25 years. The People's Council had therefore to adopt an amendment envisaging life imprisonment for traitors to the Motherland.