By Felix Corley, Forum 18 News Service

Former prisoner of conscience Shageldy Atakov, is the latest victim of Turkmenistan's use of old "offences" to punish current activity, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. Officials under orders from the central authorities are now threatening to confiscate Atakov's property, if he does not pay an enormous sum he is alleged by the authorities to have swindled an individual out of in 1995. "It is all being done because I am a Christian – I don't owe anyone anything," Atakov insisted to Forum 18. His fellow Baptists have repeatedly backed his statements that he is completely innocent of all the alleged offences. Atakov was shown documents in court showing that the latest moves were ordered from the capital Ashgabad. He pledged not to allow the authorities to seize his family's property. "They'll completely empty the house. They don't have the right to do this." Atakov, his wife Artygul Atakova and their children are also on an exit blacklist, which the authorities use against people they dislike. No official has been willing to discuss the case with Forum 18.

More than seven years after he was freed in early January 2002 from a four-year prison term, prosecutors in Turkmenistan are renewing the same charges against Baptist leader and former prisoner of conscience Shageldy Atakov, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. Atakov was imprisoned in 1999, allegedly for swindling another individual out of 12,000 US Dollars (this is the exact sum quoted in official documents). The latest moves come fourteen years after the alleged offence in 1995.

Read the full article:  http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=1293


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