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Exiled Turkmen Dissident Poet Dies In Sweden

Turkmen poet Shirali Nurmuradov with his wife, Natalia Shimovskaya (file photo)

Prominent dissident Turkmen poet Shirali Nurmuradov has died in Sweden at the age of 71.

Nurmuradov, a fierce critic of the authoritarian regime in his native Turkmenistan, was arrested and jailed to short terms for his poems by Turkmen authorities several times in the 1990s.

He went to Sweden in 1995 shortly after he was arrested in Moscow at Ashgabat's request.

Russia did not extradite him to Turkmenistan after his arrest and he was able to move to Poland and later to Sweden, where he got political asylum.

He became a member of Sweden's PEN-club and continued writing poetry.

Authorities in Turkmenistan have banned his verses.

Nurmuradov died on October 11 in a Stockholm health clinic after a long illness.

With reporting by