CCPR/C/112/D/2069/2011 the Covenant. The Optional Protocol entered into force for Turkmenistan on 1 August 1997. The author is not represented by counsel. The facts as submitted by the author 2.1 Mr. Shikhmuradov served, at various times, as Deputy Prime Minister of Turkmenistan, as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, and as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Turkmenistan to the People’s Republic of China. On 11 October 2001, he arrived in Moscow from Beijing, and a few days later was invited to go to Ashgabat to celebrate Turkmenistan’s Independence Day on 27 October 2001. However, he was hospitalized in Moscow’s Central Clinical Hospital with a suspected thrombosis of the lower extremities. He was invited by the Minister Counsellor of the Embassy of Turkmenistan to the Russian Federation to write a statement outlining the reasons for his “failure to appear” at the celebrations. Instead, he wrote a resignation letter to the then President Niyazov, in connection with his forthcoming long-term medical treatment, and he remained in Moscow. 2.2 The author submits that, on 1 November 2001, Mr. Shikhmuradov issued a formal statement through the Russian media concerning his intention to create an open, democratic opposition to the regime in place in Turkmenistan through the establishment of the People’s Democratic Movement of Turkmenistan. Soon after that statement, he received information that criminal proceedings were being instituted against him in Turkmenistan. The Prosecutor-General of Turkmenistan issued an arrest warrant against him on 2 November 2001, based on a criminal case pending against him since 30 June 2001 accusing him of a number of crimes including trafficking in arms and explosives. In June 2001, Mr. Shikhmuradov was still serving as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Turkmenistan to the People’s Republic of China. 2.3 The author also submits that, at some point, Mr. Shikhmuradov travelled to Ashgabat. She is not sure about the exact date, because at that time, they were not in regular contact due to safety concerns. She had left Turkmenistan in March 2001. 2.4 On 25 November 2002, the official media in Turkmenistan published information about an alleged attempt on the President’s life, and plans by the opposition to organize a campaign of civil disobedience to force him to hold democratic elections. In that information, Mr. Shikhmuradov was accused of being the mastermind behind the failed attack. On 25 December 2002, he was arrested in Ashgabat by the Ministry of National Security. The night before his arrest, he wrote a statement, which he transmitted abroad through his friends, indicating his intention to surrender to the authorities voluntarily so as to end the ongoing harassment against his relatives and friends. On 29 December 2002, the Supreme Court of Turkmenistan sentenced him to 25 years of imprisonment for attempting to overthrow the Government and assassinate the President. 2.5 On 30 December 2002, his sentence was changed, by decision of the People’s Council, to life imprisonment, despite the fact that the Criminal Code of Turkmenistan did not provide for such a punishment.1 More than 50 persons, including the brother of Mr. Shikhmuradov, were sentenced at the same trial within a month. There were numerous reports that they were severely tortured in detention. Mr. Shikhmuradov and many of his co-defendants have not been seen or heard of since 2002, despite continuous attempts by their relatives and international organizations to learn about their whereabouts and their condition. 1 The President’s proposal (following the life imprisonment sentence being pronounced) to change the Constitution and the Criminal Code was unanimously supported by all the delegates of the People’s Council. 3

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