FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date 2010/11/4 8:30:00 | Topic: Acts
|UNITED NATIONS DECLARES TURKMENISTANíS DETENTION OF ANNAKURBAN AMANKLYCHEV AND SAPARDURDY KHADZHIEV A VIOLATION OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE |
The Honorable VŠclav Havel
The Most Reverend Desmond M. Tutu
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 2, 2010
Contact: Craig Lewis
UNITED NATIONS DECLARES TURKMENISTANíS DETENTION OF ANNAKURBAN AMANKLYCHEV AND SAPARDURDY KHADZHIEV A VIOLATION OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
In response to a petition filed by Freedom Now and Hogan Lovells LLP (formerly Hogan & Hartson), the
United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention publicly released its opinion that in arresting and
continuing to detain Annakurban Amanklychev and Sapardurdy Khadzhiev, the Government of
Turkmenistan is in violation of international law. The opinion calls on the Government of Turkmenistan
to release the two human rights advocates.
Freedom Now Executive Director Maran Turner stated: ďIn its opinion, the Working Group judged the
Government of Turkmenistanís arrest and detention of Annakurban Amanklychev and Sapardurdy
Khadzhiev to be arbitrary and affirmed that the governmentís actions were a means to punish the two men
for their human rights advocacy. We urge the Turkmen government to comply with the UN decision,
uphold its commitments to international law, and immediately release prisoners of conscience
Annakurban Amanklychev and Sapardurdy Khadzhiev.
Messrs. Amanklychev and Khadzhiev, both members of the human rights group the Turkmenistan
Helsinki Foundation, were arrested in 2006. The two human rights advocates had been providing
information about the human rights situation in Turkmenistan to media outlets including the British
Broadcasting Corporation and at the time of arrest were helping French journalists film a documentary on
Turkmenistan. Upon arrest, government officials publicly accused the two men of ďgathering slanderous
information to spread public discontent.Ē They received six to seven year sentences after a trial that
flagrantly violated international due process standards and are both imprisoned in a high-security prison
in the Caspian Sea desert area. The conditions are deplorable: overcrowded and disease-ridden without
adequate access to medical attention, proper nutrition, and clean water. There are credible reports that
Messrs. Amanklychev and Khadzhiev have been subjected to torture; forced drug injections; and extreme
heat, thirst, and hunger.
In its opinion, the United Nations Working Group determined that the detention of Messrs. Amanklychev
and Khadzhiev violated a number of articles contained within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a multi-party treaty by which Turkmenistan
is bound. In noting that the two activists are imprisoned solely as a result of seeking to improve the
human rights situation in their country, the Working Group concluded that the Turkmen government is
violating the menís rights to freedom of expression and association. Further, when prosecuting Messrs.
Amanklychev and Khadzhiev, the government violated their rights to a fair trial.
Freedom Now, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that works to free prisoners of conscience, and
Hogan Lovells LLP, an international law firm, welcome the UNís decision. They call on the Turkmen
government to immediately release Messrs. Amanklychev and Khadzhiev.