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Turkmenistan to discuss letting foreign envoys visit jails

Associated Press Associated Press 29/08/2016
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and the President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, right, shake hands after a joint news conference as part of a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Aug. 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn) © The Associated Press German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and the President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, right, shake hands after a joint news conference as part of a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Aug. 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

BERLIN — Turkmenistan is discussing the possibility of giving foreign diplomats access to its prisons.

Human rights groups say the authoritarian government is holding dozens of dissidents in its jails without contact to the outside world.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after meeting Turkmenistan's leader in Berlin on Monday that it was "desirable for diplomats to have access to prisons."

Merkel said she and President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov had agreed that foreign ministers would take up the issue.

Berdymukhamedov said his country is working on a reform of its constitution, police and judicial system to ensure that "everybody's dignity is preserved."

He said the Central Asian nation is pursuing an "open door policy."

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