Developments over the past few months in Turkmenistan can only be termed political repressions aimed at oppressing the opponents of Saparamurat Niyazov and everybody who disagrees with the regime of Niyazov's personal power.
The regime is based on repressive bodies, rather than mass-scale [public] support. Mass demonstrations over the past year, demanding the resignation of the president were held in Ashkhabad, Turkmenbashi, Tashauz, Mari and Chardzhou. All of them were cruelly suppressed.
Political legal prosecutions after an alleged assassination attempt on Saparamurat Niyazov, where the details still raise a number of questions, marked the height of the repressions. Quickly held demonstrative legal cases virtually repeat events in our country in the 1930s. Immediately after the assassination attempt, prior to the initiation of preliminary investigation, the President of Turkmenistan named all the organizers of this terrorist act. The preliminary investigation and issue of a verdict (life imprisonment) to the first group of "traitors of the Motherland" took only four days. During the same four days term and in breach of the norms and traditions of international law, the People's Council of Turkmenistan adopted a special decision, that made it possible to retroactively apply the law against the defendants.
All these developments clearly have nothing in common with the "fight against international terrorism" proclaimed by official propaganda in Turkmenistan.
On the contrary, the concentration of full power in the hands of one person is especially dangerous in a situation where there are terrorist threats and the threat of spread of mass destruction weapons. We should not forget that the leadership of Turkmenistan cooperated with the Taliban's regime in Afghanistan that supported terrorists and received material and technical assistance for a number of years.
Therefore the position of the Secretary of the Security Council of Russia Vladimir Rushailo who during his visit to Turkmenistan in January 2003 spoke about cooperation in the fight against international terrorism in connection with the assassination attempt is bizarre, to say the least.
Everybody knows that the leadership of Turkmenistan wants Russia to deport the leaders of Turkmen's opposition from Russia's territory. Implementation of this [demand], in view of the current investigative methods on the events of November 25, 2002, would imply dooming the defendants to torture and humiliation, in breach of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. This concerns not only the citizens of Turkmenistan residing in Russia, but also Russia's citizens whose activity is considered undesirable by the President of Turkmenistan.
The Russian leadership and Russia's politicians cannot and should not be indifferent to the formation on our country's borders of a regime characterized by a lack of democratic institutions, free media, systematic violation of human rights and impossibility of any change in power in principle. The life presidency obtained by Niyazov is a feature that is typical in a dictatorship.
It is a crime to support such a regime with acts that pose a threat to the lives and health of both citizens of Turkmenistan and the citizens of Russia.
In the currentt situation an objective investigation of the developments of November 25, 2002 can only be achieved by sending to Turkmenistan representatives of international organisations, independent experts, including Russian specialists, who could study the materials of the investigation and trial of the opposition leaders convicted of attempting to assassinate Niyazov.
Head of the YABLOKO faction Grigory Yavlinsky
Head of the SPS faction Boris Nemtsov
YABLOKO and SPS