Turkmenistan Jails 10 Central Bank Employees in Rare Open Trial

Posted July 29th, 2011 at 3:15 pm (UTC-5)
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Turkmenistan has sentenced 10 central bank employees, including several senior bank officials, to jail terms of up to 15 years after they were convicted of corruption in an open trial.

The verdicts for the 10 were broadcast on state television. They were found guilty of extorting construction project bribes worth nearly $5 million.

It is the first such broadcast since President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov came to power in the Central Asian nation in 2006 following the death of the country's long-standing ruler, Saparmurat Niyazov.

Observers say Turkmenistan's justice system has become more opaque under President Berdymukhamedov.

Friday's broadcast is widely seen as an attempt by the government to showcase its efforts to battle corruption in the banking system. According to Reuters news agency, the 15-year sentences are the maximum allowed for economic crimes in Turkmenistan.