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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

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:

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

  In this country
18 February - Turkmenistan
Details of jail where two journalists have been held for past two and a half years
4 February - Turkmenistan
In joint open letter, eight NGOs urge president to include imprisoned journalists in amnesty
8 January - Turkmenistan
RFE/RL provincial correspondents harassed and threatened by intelligence officers
12 December - Turkmenistan
Increased harassment of Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty correspondents in run-up to parliamentary elections
1 October - Turkmenistan
Incomprehension at UN Human Rights Council’s refusal to name special rapporteur for Turkmenistan

in the annual report
Turkmenistan - Annual Report 2008
Turkmenistan - Annual report 2007
Turkmenistan - 2006 Annual report

Europe press releases
4 June - Kosovo
Rrokum TV station still excluded by national broadcasting network
2 June - Ukraine
Potential witness’s death deals severe blow to probe into journalist’s murder
2 June - Turkey
Woman journalist held for past five weeks on baseless charge of link to armed group
2 June - Russia
Journalist seeks asylum in Finland after being convicted for prison torture articles
29 May - France
Regrettable decision by appeal court to lift ban on magazine only if offending photo is covered up

5 February 2009 - Bulgaria
“Resignation or resistance, Bulgaria’s embattled press hesitates”
28 January 2009 - Russia
Fact-finding visit : Moscow double murder may have been linked to November attack on local newspaper editor
27 June 2008 - Turkey
Investigation report into the detention of journalist Haci Bogatekin, imprisoned for more than two months and facing ten and a half years in prison

Sign the petitions
Jusuf Ruzimuradov

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