67. Rakhimov, Serdar

SerdarRakhimov1

Date of Birth: March 3, 1951

Citizenship: Turkmen, Russian

Residence at time of arrest: Ashgabat

Date of arrest: He was arrested on December 2, 2002 and then released on December 4, 2002. He was arrested for the second time on December 5, 2002. The video of his “confession” was shown on TV on December 18, 2002. [1]

Charges: Participation in the alleged assassination attempt on President Niyazov. He was accused of intending to announce on television the assassination of President Niyazov.[2] He was convicted on January 18, 2003 by the Supreme Court of Turkmenistan in violating Art.14 -101 , part 2 , paragraph “a”, “b”, “f”, “g”, “h”, “i” , “l”, 129 h .3 , 169 part 1 , 2, 174 , part 2 , 176 part 1 , part 2, 214, 218 Part 1, 2.3, 231 Part 4, paragraph “a”, ” b”, 235 h .2 paragraph “a”, “b”, 254 part 4, paragraph “a”, ” b”, 271 Part 3, Part 1 273 275 Part 1 and Part 3 287 of the Criminal Code of Turkmenistan.

Sentence: He was sentenced to 25 years in imprisonment:[3], [4] 5 years in prison, the rest in a penal colony, followed by living in a prescribed place for 5 years, and a prohibition against holding substantive and responsible management positions for 3 years. Even before the court hearing, on the 20th of December, the Supreme Council for Science and Technology under the President of Turkmenistan stripped Rakhimov of his degree of candidate of historical sciences.[5]

Biography: Serdar Rakhimov was a Turkmen journalist, social and political activist, and leader of the Communist Party of Turkmenistan.

In 1973, Rakhimov graduated from the Department of Journalism of Moscow State University. He was a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1977. From 1984 to July 1990 (some sources say till 1989), he unofficially headed the State Committee of the Turkmen SSR on Television and Radio. From July 1990 till 1991, he served as the Secretary of Ideology of the Communist Party of Turkmenistan. On January 6, 1995, he was appointed the Minister-Counselor of the Embassy of Turkmenistan to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (some sources say he served in this post from 1993-1994). Upon returning to Turkmenistan, he worked in various commercial structures and actively participated in the restoration of the Communist Party of Turkmenistan and the restoration of relations between the Communist Parties of Russia and Turkmenistan. He spent the last couple of years prior to imprisonment unemployed. He is married to Artykgul Charyevna, has a son Murad, daughter Aina, and at least two grandchildren.[6],[7],[8]

Last seen/heard about: Unknown. Since Rakhimov’s arrest, there has been no reliable information about his fate. His relatives are not aware of where he is serving his sentence. He is denied the right to receive parcels and letters, and is not to be considered for pardon; he is not allowed visits from representatives of international human rights organizations and the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.[9]

In an interview with Vitaliy Ponomarev, a former inmate at Ovadan Depe who escaped Turkmenistan disclosed important facts about the internal order of the prison. In particular, the ‘Novemberists’ or those convicted in the so-called assassination attempt against President Niyazov, are kept in cells with fully closed windows in a separate section of the prison. However, their cries can be heard in the quarantine chamber, where inmates come for a time. The Novemberists cry out to let the others know about their fates and situations. The source managed to make out that Serdar Rakhimov was still alive in Ovadan Depe when he was there in March 2007.

On August 18, 2009, a group of journalists who graduated from Moscow State University appealed to their colleagues and human rights activists to support an action in defense of Boris Shikhmuradov and Serdar Rakhimov, both graduates of the Faculty of Journalism of Moscow State University. In their initiative, the journalists asked President Medvedev to act as guarantor of compliance with the mandate of the Russian Federation Ministry of Foreign Affairs to seek a meeting of the representatives of the Russian Embassy in Turkmenistan with the detainees, in order to assist them. The group reminded Medvedev of his own words that “an absolute priority for us is to protect the life and dignity of our citizens, wherever they may be” and asked him to take matters of the two Russian citizens under his personal control.[10],[11]

Many individuals, including members of the Russian Communist party, as well as Serdar Rakhimov’s son, wrote to Niyazov, asking for Rakhimov’s release: http://www.trudoros.narod.ru/akm/2013/07/trkm.htm.

Relatives arrested/harassed/detained: Sixteen of Rakhimov’s relatives were fired from their jobs.[12]

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[1] Decaux, Emmanuel. “OSCE Rapporteur’s Report on Turkmenistan.” OSCE, 12.3.2003. http://www.osce.org/odihr/18372 pp. 21, 18.

[2] RIA Novosti.“Turkmeniya: “predateley Rodiny” lishili zvaniy” 21.12.2002. http://ria.ru/politics/20021221/286859.html#ixzz2tALOIh2k Accessed on 10 February 2014.

[3] “Solidarnost’ s turkmenskim politzaklyuchonnym kommunistom” 1 January 2007. http://www.trudoros.narod.ru/akm/2013/07/trkm.htm. Accessed on 1 February 2014.

[4]Memorial “Vragi Naroda” from the Turkmenistan publication “Adolat”

[5] RIA Novosti.“Turkmeniya: “predateley Rodiny” lishili zvaniy” 21.12.2002. http://ria.ru/politics/20021221/286859.html#ixzz2tALOIh2k. Accessed on 10 February 2014.

[6] Wikipedia. «Rakhimov Serdar Seitmuradovich», http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Рахимов,_Сердар_Сейтмурадович. Accessed on 5 January 2014.

[7] “Solidarnost’s turkmenskim politzaklyuchonnym kommunistom” 1 January 2007. http://www.trudoros.narod.ru/akm/2013/07/trkm.htm. Accessed on 1 February 2014.

[8] Notes from Vitaliy Ponomarev, Memorial.

[9] Novaya Gazeta. “Zaklyuchennyye v ashkhabade” 10.9.2009. http://novayagazeta.spb.ru/articles/5278/. Accessed on 1 March 2014.

[10] Chronika Turkmenistana. “Medvedeva prosyat pomoch’ rossiyanam, osuzhdennym v Turkmenii” 17.08.2009. http://archive.chrono-tm.org/?id=2091. Accessed on 20 February 2014.

[11] Ferghana.News. “Rossiya-Turkmenistan: Initsiativnaya gruppa zhurnalistov trebuyet vnimaniya k delu Borisa Shikhmuradova i Serdara Rakhimova” 18.08.2009. http://www.fergananews.com/news.php?id=12733. Accessed on 10 February 2014.

[12] “Solidarnost’ s turkmenskim politzaklyuchonnym kommunistom” 1 January 2007. http://www.trudoros.narod.ru/akm/2013/07/trkm.htm. Accessed on 1 February 2014.