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Turkmenistan3 October 2006

Support for a journalist and a human rights activist imprisoned in Turkmenistan

Dear colleagues and friends,

Journalists and human rights activists Annakurban Amanklychev, Ogulsapar Muradova and Sapardurdy Khajiyev were arrested between 16 and 18 June and were sentenced to prison terms ranging from six to seven years. Their crime was to have helped foreign news media, thereby contributing to criticism of Separmurad Nyazov, who was proclaimed “President for Life” of this former Soviet central Asian republic in 1999.

We were deeply saddened and appalled to learn on 14 September that Muradova (photo) died as a result of beatings of unprecedented brutality she received while serving her sentence in one of the country’s top-security prisons, where those considered to be enemies of the regime get “special treatment.” A 58-year-old mother of three, Muradova paid with her life for her commitment to the survival of a free press in a country where there are no longer any privately-owned media, where those who work for the foreign media and NGOs are hounded, and where the Internet has been made inaccessible for the population.

Muradova is dead, leaving three children behind. Amanklychev and Khajiyev are still alive but in what condition? As for their relatives, they are subject to surveillance and intimidation by one of the world’s most repressive regimes, some of them have lost their jobs, and they are generally regarded as a threat.

To support Amanklychev, Khajiyev, their families and Muradova’s family, to prevent their being forgotten and to prevent those who decided to gag the press from enjoying total impunity, we ask you to sign this petition.

They need us. Do not abandon them. We, the signatories of this petition, demand an immediate investigation into Ogulsapar Muradova’s murder. We call for the immediate release of Annakurban Amanklychev (photo), who is imprisoned in Turkmenistan because of his journalistic work. We also call for the release of Sapardurdy Khajiyev, an International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights activist. We demand an immediate end to any physical mistreatment of them and we demand that their families are restored all of their basic rights. This petition will be sent to the authorities in Turkmenistan.

We also urge you to contribute to a special assistance fund for journalists and human rights activists imprisoned in Turkmenistan. We need these free press activists to work.

To contribute to the fund for journalists and human rights activists imprisoned in Turkmenistan, send your donation to Reporters Without Borders: 5, rue Geoffroy-Marie - 75009 Paris or by a credit transfer to the following bank account:
-  Account holder: Reporters Without Borders
-  Address: C.C. Paris AG Courcelles
-  Bank code: 42559
-  Counter Code: 00001
-  Account number: 21027360204
-  Clé RIB: 88
-  IBAN: FR76 4255 9000 0121 0273 6020 488
-  BIC: CCOPFRPPXXX

Please specify that it’s a payment for the special fund for Turkmenistan. The money collected will be sent to the families of journalists and activists in jail.

You can also sign the petition on Reporters Without Borders’ website: www.rsf.org

Read the last press release about the three journalists and human rights defenders




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