Pussy Riot perform during a concert at the Zagreb Museum of Contemporary Art ©DENIS LOVROVIC/AFP via Getty Images

Croatia: Dissident and Pussy Riot member must not be extradited to Turkmenistan

Responding to yesterday’s arrest in Croatia of activist and member of the band Pussy Riot, Aysoltan Niyazov, who faces possible extradition to Turkmenistan, Amnesty International’s Julia Hall, Deputy Director for Europe, said:

“The Croatian authorities know that Aysoltan Niyazov’s activism would put her at great risk of suffering serious abuse, including torture and other ill-treatment, should she be extradited to Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan is not a safe country for her or any human rights defender.

“Interpol warrants have been notoriously abused by a number of authoritarian regimes and countries with appalling human rights records to try to silence activists and those who speak out about human rights violations. Croatia should not be complicit in such practices.

“International law requires Croatia not to return or extradite any person to a country where they would face a risk of serious human rights violations. The authorities in Zagreb must refuse Turkmenistan’s request for Aysoltan Niyazov’s extradition and immediately release her from detention.”

Background

Aysoltan Niyazov is a national of Russia and Turkmenistan. She was in Croatia taking part in the anti-war Riot Days tour, proceeds of which will go to support a hospital in Kyiv.

Croatian police arrested Niyazov based on an Interpol red notice issued by Turkmenistan in 2002. According to the notice, Niyazov is sought on charges of alleged embezzlement of funds belonging to the country’s central bank. Niyazov disputes these allegations.

Amnesty International has documented numerous cases of Turkmenistani authorities pressing charges based on fabricated or unreliable evidence. Human rights defenders and political dissidents are regularly subjected to torture and other ill-treatment in Turkmenistan.