New Body To Fight Economic Crimes, Reshuffles Reported In Turkmenistan

State media in Turkmenistan report that a new government body to fight economic crimes has been established in the tightly controlled Central Asian country.

The reports on June 2 said that President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov signed a decree establishing the State Service for Fighting Economic Crimes.

The former chief of the Customs Service, Colonel Mammetkhan Chakiyev, was appointed to run it.

Berdymukhammedov also moved Supreme Court Chairman Begench Charyiev to the post of director of the Presidential Institute for Democracy and Human Rights.

In a job swap, Charyiev was replaced by Klychmyrad Khallyiev, who had led the democracy and rights institute.

The reshuffle comes less than a month after Berdymukhammedov sacked the prosecutor-general for "failing to fight corruption among law enforcement officers."

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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