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Posted by admin on 2013/9/24 11:28:00 (2420 reads)

Amnesty International

Public Statement

Continued clamp down on freedom of expression, association and assembly, arbitrary detention, torture, enforced disappearance, and still no access for international monitors.


Amnesty International welcomes Turkmenistan’s acceptance of recommendations to guarantee freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. as well improvements to national legislation, including the 2012 law on political parties and the 2013 law on media freedom.

However, there has been no genuine attempt to guarantee these rights in practice. Journalists, human rights defenders and other activists continue to be subjected to harassment, arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment, and imprisonment after unfair trials. Turkmenistan has also failed to reform the registration process for non-governmental organizations and to allow them to work freely without harassment.

Two states called on Turkmenistan to provide information on the whereabouts of prisoners whose fate is unknown. The organization is deeply disappointed, however, that Turkmenistan rejected these recommendations. Relatives of the disappeared have told Amnesty International that they have had no news of their relatives for over ten years, and do not know if they are dead or alive.

Amnesty International welcomes Turkmenistan’s acceptance of recommendations to investigate torture and to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) and notes the inclusion of a definition of torture in the Criminal Code in August 2012. However, the organization continues to receive reports that people suspected of criminal offences face torture and other ill-treatment in Turkmenistan. Complaints by victims are rarely if ever investigated, and impunity for the perpetrators prevails. There are also credible reports that practices, such as forced administration of medication, continue in prisons. Amnesty International calls on the authorities to carry out thorough, independent and impartial investigations into all complaints of torture or other ill-treatment and to hold those responsible to account.

Finally, while Amnesty International welcomes Turkmenistan’s acceptance of recommendations to cooperate with the UN Special Procedure, it is concerned that Turkmenistan severely restricts access to the country for international monitors. Amnesty International has requested access to the country several times; so far unsuccessfully.

Background

The UN Human Rights Council adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Turkmenistan on 18 September 2013 during its 24th session. Prior to the adoption of the review outcome, Amnesty International delivered the oral statement above.

www.amnesty.org


Posted by admin on 2013/8/14 7:55:00 (2584 reads)

STATEMENT OF THE COALITION TO PROTECT
THE RIGHTS OF LABOUR MIGRANTS IN RUSSIA
August 13, 2013 London - Paris,
We the undersigned, representing the civil society of Uzbekistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan, express our deep concern over the recent actions of the Russian authorities towards migrant workers from Central Asia.

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Posted by admin on 2013/7/28 17:51:06 (2370 reads)

part of Public Document

Failure to protect against return to torture or other ill-treatment collaboration and collusion between authorities in CIS countries

Turkmenistan

According to the authorities, opposition supporters carried out an assassination attempt on then-President Saparmurad Niyazov in November 2002 in the capital Ashgabat. Dozens of people were subjected to enforced disappearance. At least 59 people were convicted in unfair trials between December 2002 and January 2003, including Boris Shikhmuradov, Foreign Minister from 1995 until 2000, who was sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment in a closed trial on 29 December 2002. The People’s Council (Khalk Maslakhaty) reportedly increased his sentence to life imprisonment the next day. Reportedly, many of those accused of involvement in the alleged assassination attempt were tortured and put under psychological pressure to confess and incriminate others. Boris Shikhmuradov’s televised ‘confession’ was broadcast on 29 December 2002 and there were reports that the text of the confession was dictated to him. Despite repeated requests for information, Boris Shikhmuradov’s family have still received no news about his current whereabouts.

Amnesty International


Posted by admin on 2013/6/28 17:47:00 (2204 reads)

Public Statement

Exhibitions tell about families campaigning to end impunity for torture and other ill-treatment in Central Asia.


On the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Amnesty International and its partners are launching series of exhibitions that will take place in the cities across the world throughout the summer 2013.

Amnesty International is proud to join NGOs in the Central Asia region in showing their support for the individuals and families portrayed in these exhibitions which will start in Tajikistan and Kazakhstan on 26 June and will continue to other countries in the world.

The exhibitions tell the courageous stories of different families in Central Asia who have lost their loved ones to torture and other ill-treatment, injustice or an unfair trial.

Throughout Central Asia police forces continue to use torture and other ill-treatment against individuals. In violation of national and international law, ordinary people in Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan continue to be arbitrarily detained by officers of the law enforcement services, held incommunicado and forced to write false confessions.

Torture and other ill-treatment is frequently used so police can meet performance targets for solving crimes or to extract bribes.

While in detention, people may face torture and other ill-treatment and can be left with long-term physical and psychological injuries or end up in prison after an unfair trial. Some of them even die as a result. Even when signs of torture are clearly visible at trial, too often judges lack the independence or courage to order investigations into the detainee’s allegations of torture and other ill-treatment.

Many of the families put their faith in their local criminal justice system and appealed against their treatment. However, some face harassment by the authorities for speaking out. They are also left without bread-winners and the children without their fathers. However, they continue to fight for investigations into the torture allegations and hope that one day justice will prevail.

Amnesty International calls upon the authorities of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to take urgent measures to end impunity for torture and other ill-treatment, including through the following:

— Places of detention are monitored by independent experts;

— All detainees are presumed innocent until found guilty in fair proceedings;

— All individual cases of torture and other ill-treatment are thoroughly investigated promptly and impartially;

— Torture victims have access to redress and compensation;

— Torture victims and their families are able to live without fear of reprisal for speaking out.


Amnesty International


Posted by admin on 2013/5/25 10:32:00 (2446 reads)

The decree does not specify a date for full implementation of the measures specified in it. Nor is there publicly available information about whether the state commission, as well as procedures outlined in the decree, is already operational. Those charged with implementing the decree included Deputy Prime Minister Annamukhammet Gochyev, Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov and State Security Minister Yaylym Berdiyev.

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Posted by admin on 2013/5/11 16:46:00 (2251 reads)

Authorities Should Free or Credibly Charge Radio Free Europe Writer

(Berlin) – Turkmen authorities should immediately free or credibly charge a journalist arrested on May 6, 2013, for unreported reasons. The journalist, Rovshen Yazmuhamedov, has been a local correspondent in Turkmenistan for United States government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) since September 2012.

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Posted by admin on 2013/5/11 16:13:00 (2115 reads)

Urgent Action

Rovshen Yazmuhamedov, a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalist, was detained on 6 May in Turkmenistan by local police. Though the charges against him have not been disclosed by the authorities, there are fears that he may have been targeted in connection with his work and that he is at grave risk of torture.

According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Rovshen Yazmuhamedov, 30, has been working with the Turkmen service since September 2012. He is a correspondent and mainly covers social issues. On 9 May his family informed RFE/RL of his detention. According to his family, Rovshen Yazmuhamedov, has been interrogated by security services several times in the past. He is currently being held in a temporary detention facility run by the department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs involved in the fight against organized crime and terrorism-related cases. His family has also told RFE/RL that the authorities have begun to install surveillance cameras around their
home.

RFE/RL is one of the few remaining sources of independent information about life in Turkmenistan, despite the Turkmen authorities’ continued attempts to silence its journalists and other perceived critics. A correspondent with RFE/RL, Ogulsapar Muradova, was detained and died in custody in disputed circumstance in 2006. No effective and independent investigation appears to have been conducted into her death. In light of these circumstances, there are fears that Rovshen Yazmuhamedov might have been arbitrarily detained, is at immediate risk of torture and other ill-treatment and that he may be a prisoner of conscience.

Please write immediately in Turkmen, Russian, English or your own language:
 Urging the authorities to ensure that Rovshen Yazmuhamedov is not subjected to torture and other ill-treatment
and that his family is not subjected to any pressure or reprisals;
 Urging the authorities to immediately disclose the charges against him and release him immediately if no
recognizable criminal charges are brought against him;
 Stating that if it becomes clear that he was detained because of his journalist work, Amnesty International will
adopt him as prisoner of conscience and call for his immediate and unconditional release.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 21 JUNE 2013 TO:
President of Turkmenistan
Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov
Presidential Palace
744000 Ashgabat
Turkmenistan
Fax: +993 12 93 5112 (please try a
couple of times between 10-1500 GMT)
Salutation: Dear President

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Rashid Meredov
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
83 pr. Magtymguly
744000 Ashgabat
Turkmenistan
Email: mfatm@online.tm
Fax: +993 12 93 4241 (please try a
couple of times between 10-1500 GMT)
Salutation: Dear Minister

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

Name: Rovshen Yazmuhamedov (m), Ogulsapar Muradova (f)
Gender m/f: both
UA: 121/13 Index: EUR 61/001/2013 Issue Date: 10 May 2013


Posted by admin on 2013/5/11 7:22:00 (2076 reads)

EurasiaNet Commentary

Later this May, European Union officials will meet a delegation from Turkmenistan during annual human rights consultations. President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov’s authoritarian regime in Ashgabat is one of the most repressive in the world, yet the meeting poses perhaps the biggest test for the EU side.

In 2008, the European Parliament formulated human rights benchmarks as a precondition for the European Union’s (EU) relations with Turkmenistan. But since then, EU officials have consistently sidestepped Turkmenistan’s atrocious human rights record as they have sought to engage Ashgabat on security and energy issues.

Last July, the new EU Special Representative for Central Asia, Patricia Flor, stated that she did not support setting concrete benchmarks for progress on human rights in Central Asia as a foundation for the EU’s relationships with states like Turkmenistan. As the EU prepares to engage the Turkmen government at the EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue, it is imperative that the EU hold the Turkmen government accountable for its rights failings, and convey to Berdymukhamedov’s government that advancing relations with the EU is contingent upon its compliance with international standards.

Turkmenistan is an autocratic state in which Berdymukhamedov, who hails himself as Arkadag (Protector), enjoys unlimited power and total control over all aspects of public life. Since 2001, Freedom House has continuously ranked Turkmenistan as “the worst of the worst” among the world’s most repressive countries. The Turkmen government severely retaliates against anyone critical of its policies, including human rights defenders, journalists, and lawyers.

Arbitrary detention remains a serious problem. Despite pardoning some prisoners of conscience in February, the government continues to detain longtime political dissident Gulgeldy Annaniyazov. Mr. Annaniyazov, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison on unconfirmed charges after a closed trial in 2008, is being held incommunicado and the Turkmen government refuses to disclose information about his whereabouts or well-being. Young Jehovah’s Witnesses also face imprisonment for objecting to compulsory military service, a requirement of their faith.

Despite Turkmenistan’s abysmal human rights record, the EU has been lax in its obligations to address these violations and the total absence of genuine democratic reforms in Turkmenistan. Many of the documents establishing the EU’s relationship with Turkmenistan, including the EU’s Interim Trade Agreement with Turkmenistan, require that the Turkmen government meet human rights benchmarks, such as guaranteeing civil liberties, releasing all prisoners of conscience, and allowing international human rights monitors free access to the country. To date, Turkmenistan has not met any of these benchmarks.

Turkmenistan’s failure to make real progress has stalled ratification of its Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) in the European Parliament several times. However, some experts believe that ratification will eventually happen—in large part because of the EU’s growing interest in diversifying its energy supply by gaining access to Turkmenistan’s vast resources. But the EU must make it clear to the Turkmen government that its failure to meet the human rights benchmarks set by the European Parliament will not be rewarded with further engagement. The EU should not pursue stronger ties with Turkmenistan without the Turkmen government first showing definitive progress towards adhering to international standards for human rights.

In May, the EU will have the opportunity to engage the Turkmen government during its annual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue. The EU should use this dialogue to call for the Turkmen government to meet its human rights obligations. Specifically, the EU must press the Turkmen government to respect freedom of religion, belief, expression, press and assembly. The EU should make it clear to the Turkmen government that without the effective guarantee of these rights, there can be no genuine progress on democracy and human rights. The EU should also call for the immediate release of those arbitrarily detained for exercising their fundamental human rights, including the political dissident Gulgeldy Annaniyazov and at least nine imprisoned Jehovah’s Witnesses.

At the Human Rights Dialogue, the EU must make it clear to the Turkmen delegation that the country’s progress towards meeting human rights benchmarks is an essential element of its relationship with the EU and that progress toward deepening relations will not take place unless improvements are made.

Editor's note:
Mirakmal Niyazmatov is a program lawyer with Freedom Now, a US-based nongovernmental organization that works to free prisoners of conscience.
http://www.eurasianet.org/node/66937


Posted by admin on 2013/5/11 6:05:00 (2210 reads)

Reporters Without Borders calls on the authorities to explain why they have been holding Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty correspondent Rovshen Yazmuhamedov in the northeastern city of Turkmenabat since 6 May.

“Yazmuhamedov’s unexplained detention for the past four days is completely arbitrary and represents a gross violation of his constitutional rights and the international conventions ratified by Turkmenistan,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“What is he accused of, and on what basis? When will he be tried and what are the grounds for holding him in the meantime? The authorities must answer these questions. In such a closed and repressive country as Turkmenistan, there is every reason to suspect that his detention is a reprisal for his journalistic activities.

“We are extremely worried for Yazmuhamedov because of the appalling conditions in Turkmen jails and the government’s attitude to independent media. The international community must do everything in its power to find out what has happened to him and to make sure he is freed.”

Reporters Without Borders added: “In particular, we urge the European Union’s representatives to raise Yazmuhamedov’s detention during the next session of its ‘human rights dialogue’ with Turkmenistan at the end of May, if this unacceptable situation goes on that long.”

Yazmuhamedov, who works for RFE/RL’s Turkmen service, disappeared on the afternoon of 6 May. His mother was told the next day that he had been arrested and was asked to bring his passport to police headquarters in Turkmenabat.

He is now thought to be in a prison belonging to the interior ministry’s Directorate No. 6, which specializes in terrorism and organized crime. His mother told RFE/RL yesterday that surveillance cameras were being installed around the family home. She could not be reached today.

“We have not succeeded in talking to Rovshen’s family today,” Muhammad Tahir, the head of RFE/RL’s Turkmen service, told Reporters Without Borders today. “Her phone line seems to have been disconnected. We still have not obtained any official comment [on the part of the authorities]. We are completely in the dark.”

Yazmuhamedov has worked for RFE/RL since September 2012, mainly covering social issues, which can be very sensitive in Turkmenistan.

A source familiar with his work mentioned a report he recently did about a young girl who was banned from attending a school for wearing an Islamic headscarf. The report elicited strong reactions. Independent journalism tends not to be tolerated in Turkmenistan, where all media are controlled by the state.

Despite some window dressing, Turkmenistan has made no real progress towards democracy in recent years and continues to have one of the world’s most authoritarian and ruthless regimes.

As the next round in the “human rights dialogue” approaches, Reporters Without Borders urges the European Union to hold firm on the conditions that Turkmenistan must fulfil in order to have a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with the EU.

Any relaxation of the conditions would be a betrayal of Turkmen civil society and a sign of weakness towards the authorities, one that would hurt all future negotiations.

Turkmenistan has for years shared the bottom three places in the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index with North Korea and Eritrea.

www.rsf.org


Posted by admin on 2013/5/3 19:26:00 (2218 reads)

More than two decades after independence, press freedom remains stifled in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

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