Boris Şyhmyradow

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Boris Orazowiç Şyhmyradow (in Russian : Борис Шихмурадов, Boris Shikhmuradov, born 25 May 1949[1]) was Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan from 1995 to 2000. He is currently serving a life sentence in prison after he was convicted of participation in a plot against Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov in 2002.

Şyhmyradow was born in Ashgabat to an Armenian mother and Turkmen father.[2] Beginning in 1971, he worked in the Soviet embassies to Pakistan and India. After Turkmenistan gained independence, in 1992 he became Deputy Foreign Minister and then First Deputy Foreign Minister; he also became Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers in the same year. He became Foreign Minister in 1995 and served in that position for five years. He subsequently became a Special Envoy dealing with Caspian Sea affairs and the normalization of the situation in Afghanistan in June 2000. He served in that post until March 2001, when he became Turkmenistan's Ambassador to the People's Republic of China. He remained in the latter position until November 2001, when he announced his opposition to President Niyazov.[1]

Following an alleged assassination attempt against Niyazov on November 25, 2002, Şyhmyradow was arrested in Ashgabat (he had previously been in exile in Russia) on December 25, 2002. It was alleged that, as part of the plot, he had entered Turkmenistan from Uzbekistan prior to the attempt on Niyazov's life, and that, after it failed, he had taken refuge in the Uzbek embassy from November 26 to December 7. Subsequently, according to Şyhmyradow's confession, he stayed in a friend's apartment until he was captured. This confession was shown on television; in it, he called himself "a criminal able only to destroy the state" and a drug addict, and he also praised Niyazov very highly. Some suspected that torture was used to obtain the confession. On December 30, Şyhmyradow was sentenced to 25 years in prison, the maximum possible punishment; however, the People's Council amended the criminal code shortly thereafter to enable life sentences for traitors, and Şyhmyradow's sentence was accordingly changed.[3]

Following Niyazov's death in December 2006, his successor, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, was asked about the fates of Şyhmyradow and alleged co-conspirator Batyr Berdiýew at a visit to Columbia University in September 2007. Berdimuhamedow said that he thought they were still alive. He also mentioned the Gadyr Gijesi ("Night of Forgiveness"), an October occasion that is customarily marked by the release of prisoners, leading to speculation that Şyhmyradow might be released.[4] On the occasion, Şyhmyradow's wife and nephew were released on October 8, 2007, but Şyhmyradow himself was not.[5]

Nothing has been heard of Şyhmyradow since 2007; it is thought that he is still imprisoned or that he may have died in prison.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Profile for Şyhmyradow, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
  2. ^ Dilip Hiro, Inside Central Asia, pg. 217
  3. ^ Alec Rasizade, "Turkmenbashi and his Turkmenistan", Contemporary Review, October 1, 2003.
  4. ^ "Turkmenistan: Jailed opposition leaders Boris Shihmuradov and Batyr Berduyev are alive", Vremya Novostei (ferghana.ru), September 26, 2007.
  5. ^ Bruce Pannier, "Turkmenistan Frees 9,000 Inmates, But Many High-Profile Political Prisoners Still Jailed", Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, October 9, 2007.
  6. ^ Roger Kangas and Brianne Todd, "Berdimuhamedov's Campaign for Political Pluralism and the Daikhan Party: Farmers of Turkmenistan Unite", Eurasia Daily Monitor, volume 7, issue 111, 9 June 2010.