Turkmen prisoners of conscience adopted
At our meeting today, we agreed to adopt a new prisoner of conscience case to work on.
We will be campaigning on behalf of Turkmen human rights defenders Annakurban Amanklychev, Sapardurdy Khadzhiev and Ogulsapar Muradova. All three are connected to the human rights organisation the Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation. They were detained in June 2006 and, following an unfair trial, were sentenced to between six and seven years' imprisonment for 'illegal acquisition, possession or sale of amunition or firearms'. Amnesty believes this charge was fabricated to punish them for their human rights activities, and considers them to be prisoners of conscience, detained solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression.
In September 2006, Ogulsapar Muraodova's family were told she had died in custody. Relatives reported seeing 'marks on her neck' and a 'huge wound on her forehead'. Amnesty is concerned she may have been tortured in detention.
We will be calling on the Turkmen authorities to release Annakurban Amanklychev and Sapardurdy Khadzhiev immediately and unconditionally.
We will also be calling on the authorities to ensure a thorough, promt and independent investigation is conducted into the cause and circumstances of Ogulsapar's death, keeping her relatives informed of all steps in the investigation and making the results public.
Prior to taking on this new case, the group spent five years campaigning on behalf of our adopted Burmese prisoner of conscience, Myo Min Zaw. We were delighted to hear of his release in January, as part of a prisoner amnesty.
After many years of dedicated work from Linda Heggie on behalf of Myo Min Zaw and our previous Burmese prisoner of conscience, Jamie Brannon has agreed to be our caseworker for Annakurban, Sapardurdy and Ogulsapar.
If you would like to support our campaign, please get in touch or come along to one of our meetings! New members and supporters are always very welcome.