Chronology-Central Asia and the Caucasus

Article excerpt

See also Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan

Apr. 19: A court in Khujand sentenced 34 men to jail terms of between eight and 28 years after they were found guilty of belonging to the banned Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Seventeen more men were later convicted of membership in the same organization and were given jail terms of between nine and 23 years. Some of the men reportedly admitted to some of the charges, and five of them allegedly attended militant training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. [RFE/RL, 4/19]

May 6: Armenian president Serzh Sarkisian's Republican Party won a majority of the country's 131-seat parliament. He received 44% of the vote under a party list system and a further 28 seats contested by individual candidates. The election was free of the violence that followed the country's 2008 presidential election but received a mixed assessment from international observers who criticized violations of campaign law. The Prosperous Armenia Party finished second, garnering about 30% of the vote. [Reuters, 5/7]

May 18: Turkmen president Gurbanguli Berdymukhammedov pardoned 1,000 prisoners in the second prison amnesty of the year. State-run media said they had "sincerely repented for their deeds." The amnesty came as Turkmenistan marked the anniversary of the adoption of its constitution. [RFE/RL, 5/18]

May 21: Azerbaijan recalled its ambassador to Iran following Iran's recall of its ambassador to Azerbaijan after a protest outside Iran's embassy in Baku. The moves heightened tensions further following Azerbaijan's purchase of Israeli-made weapons and Iran's alleged plotting of terrorist attacks in Azerbaijan. Previously, Azerbaijan arrested 22 Iranians in March who were accused of spying for Iran. [NYT, 5/22]

May 23: Turkmenistan's state-run Turkmengaz signed deals with Pakistan's Inter State Gas Systems and India's GAIL to sell and purchase natural gas. The deals depended on the construction of a pipeline which was to run through Afghanistan, spurring doubts about the feasibility of the project and raising security concerns. …