KESTON NEWS SERVICE: 11.00, 27 March 2001

TURKMENISTAN: ATAKOV TRANSFERRED TO ENCLOSED
PRISON. Ailing Baptist prisoner Shageldy Atakov has again been
transferred to a new prison. The German-based Friedensstimme mission told
Keston News Service that on 23 March Atakov was transferred from the
labour camp in Seydy in north eastern Turkmenistan right across the country
to an ´┐Żenclosed´┐Ż prison at the Caspian port of Turkmenbashi (formerly
Krasnovodsk), where prisoners have no contact with the outside world.
There is no news on his current state of health.

TURKMENISTAN: ATAKOV TRANSFERRED TO ENCLOSED PRISON

by Felix Corley, Keston News Service

Ailing Baptist prisoner Shageldy Atakov has again been transferred to a new
prison. The German-based Friedensstimme mission told Keston News
Service that on 23 March Atakov was transferred from the labour camp in
Seydy in north eastern Turkmenistan right across the country to the Caspian
port of Turkmenbashi (formerly Krasnovodsk), where he is being held in an
enclosed prison (known in Russian as a `krytaya tyurma').

The Friedensstimme mission is interpreting this as a bad sign. `The prisoners
are kept under one roof and therefore have no contact with the outside world
at all,' mission director Klaus Karsten told Keston on 27 March. `They are
trying to isolate Shageldy totally.' There is no news on Atakov's current state
of health.

Atakov - a member of a congregation of the Council of Churches of
Evangelical Christians/Baptists - is serving a four year sentence on charges
fellow Baptists believe were fabricated to punish him for his activity in the
Baptist church in Turkmenbashi, where he was arrested in December 1998.

In early February he was transferred to prison hospital in the town of Mary
after widespread concern about his rapidly-deteriorating health, then on 1
March he was transferred back to the camp in Seydy. It is not known why he
has now been transferred again.

From early March Atakov's wife Artygyul and their five children have been
put under intense pressure in the town of Kaakhka. Artygyul has been
pressured by the local mullah, administration officials and officers of the
political police the KNB (former KGB) to convert to Islam (see KNS 26
March 2001). (END)

Copyright (c) 2001 Keston Institute. All rights reserved.