ASHGABAT — The former head of a district in the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat, has been reportedly sent to prison on embezzlement charges two days after leaving his post.
A source close to government structures told RFE/RL on July 9 that Bakhtiyar Bashekov was sentenced to 22 years in prison just a day after a probe was launched against him following his dismissal.
Bashekov’s imprisonment has not been officially reported and Turkmen law enforcement officials have not commented on the case.
Bashekov was appointed to the post of the head of Ashgabat’s Berkakarlyk district in January 2018 by the authoritarian President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov amid another series of administrative moves.
A presidential order about Bashekov’s dismissal on June 27 cited “mistakes committed when carrying out his service duties.”
Berdymukhammedov has ruled the gas-rich former Soviet republic with an iron fist since the death of his autocratic predecessor, Saparmurat Niyazov, in December 2006.
Rights groups and government critics say the principles of human rights and democracy are routinely abused by Berdymukhammedov’s government.
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