• Campagnes

Turkmenistan: Fear for safety / possible prisoner of conscience: Gulgeldy Annaniyazov

, N° d'index: EUR 61/002/1997

There is concern for the safety of Gulgeldy Annaniyazov, who is in the second year of a 15-year prison sentence imposed after he was involved in an anti-government demonstration on 12 July 1995. There are reports that he is being held at the maximum security prison in Ashgabat, alongside violent criminals, deliberately to put him at risk of physical assault. Amnesty International is also asking for clarification of the charges made against him.

EXTERNAL AI Index: EUR 61/02/97
UA 53/97 Fear for safety / Possible prisoner of conscience 19 February 1997
TURKMENISTANGulgeldy ANNANIYAZOV, aged 36
(_________ __________ in cyrillic)
Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of Gulgeldy Annaniyazov,
who is in the second year of a 15-year prison sentence imposed after he was
involved in an anti-government demonstration on 12 July 1995. Central Asian
human rights monitors allege that he is being held at the maximum security
prison in Ashgabat, the capital, alongside violent criminals, deliberately
to put him at risk of physical assault. There are unsubstantiated allegations
that authorities in Turkmenistan have even incited Gulgeldy Annaniyazov’s
fellow prisoners to harm him.
The authorities in Turkmenistan have never fully disclosed what happened to
those detained in connection with the 1995 demonstration (see UA 173/95, EUR
61/04/95, 14 July 1995), but unofficial sources have stated that in late December
1995 or early January 1996, 27 were convicted of various crimes, mostly involving
hooliganism or drug abuse but some involving more serious offences. Twenty
of these people were released under an amnesty shortly afterwards. Precise
information about the seven people who remained in prison has been scarce.
Gulgeldy Annaniyazov is reported to have been convicted of plotting to commit
murder, assault, incitement to hooliganism, illegal possession of a weapon,
drugs offences, and illegal currency dealing. The basis for the charges is
not known. Amnesty International has received no reports of violence on the
part of the demonstrators.
During the period when there were large numbers of prisoners of conscience
in the Soviet Union, Amnesty International learned of numerous instances when
prisoners of conscience were subjected to physical attack by criminal prisoners,
acting with the connivance or protection of the authorities. The organization
fears that in the case of Gulgeldy Annaniyazov a similar practice has persisted
in Turkmenistan. Gulgeldy Annaniyazov has reportedly made repeated protests
against his conviction, and unofficial sources have alleged that the authorities
have incited his fellow prisoners to violence against him in order to punish
him for this and silence him.
Amnesty International is seeking clarification from the authorities about the
exact basis for the criminal charges against Gulgeldy Annaniyazov. The
organization is currently making appeals in other cases in Turkmenistan where
people have been convicted on apparently false or fabricated charges involving
preparation of violent acts. It has also received frequent allegations that
fabricated charges involving narcotics have been used to punish people for
exercising their right to free expression. Given the circumstances of the
arrest of Gulgeldy Annaniyazov, Amnesty International is concerned that the
charges against him may also be without legitimate foundation, and that he
may be a prisoner of conscience.
Amnesty International is also seeking full disclosure from the authorities
about the fate of people arrested after the 12 July 1995 demonstration.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Since becoming independent in 1991, Turkmenistan has developed a political
climate which stifles fundamental human rights. The government makes no secret
of its disrespect for international human rights norms, arguing that certain
2
individual rights and freedoms are expendable because they threaten the
implementation of policies intended to resolve all of the country’s social
and economic problems within the first decade of independence. Amnesty
International has monitored: the sentencing of government opponents to long
prison terms following conviction of apparently fabricated criminal offences;
the arrest and ill-treatment of people involved in organized or spontaneous
anti-government protests; apparently unwarranted incarceration of opposition
activists in psychiatric hospitals; ill-treatment by police and in the prisons;
and extensive use of the death penalty.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in Russian, English or your own language:
- expressing concern for the physical safety and well-being of Gulgeldy
Annaniyazov, and urging the authorities to ensure that he is not subjected
to any ill-treatment;
- requesting clarification of the exact basis for the criminal charges against
Gulgeldy Annaniyazov, noting that Amnesty International has monitored cases
in Turkmenistan where fabricated criminal charges have apparently been brought
against people to punish non-violent political opposition to the government,
and who may be prisoners of conscience;
if possible also:
- request that the authorities make a full disclosure of the fate of all persons
arrested following the 12 July 1995 demonstration in Ashgabat, including the
charges brought against each individual, the sentences passed on them, whether
they benefitted from an amnesty, and the current whereabouts of all those who
have not been amnestied.
APPEALS TO:
1. President of Turkmenistan, Saparmurad Atayevich Niyazov
Turkmenistan
744000 g. Ashgabat
Apparat Prezidenta
Prezidentu Turkmenistana
NIYAZOVU S.A.
Faxes + 7 3632 or + 993 1 followed by 25 51 12 (it can be difficult to get
a connection)
Telegrams: Turkmenistan, 744000 Ashgabat, Prezidentu Niyazovu
Salutation: Dear President Niyazov
2. Procurator General of Turkmenistan, Bayrammurad Ashirliyev
Turkmenistan
g. Ashgabat
ul. Seidi, 4
Prokuratura Turkmenistana
Generalnomu prokuroru
ASHIRLIYEVU B.
Faxes + 7 3632 or 993 1 followed by 35 44 82
Telegrams: Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, Prokuratura, Gen. prokuroru Ashirliyevu
Salutation: Dear Procurator General
3. Chairman of the Supreme Court, Ysa Rakhmonov
Turkmenistan
744000 Ashgabat
prospekt Saparmurad Turkmenbashi, 18
Verkhovny Sud Turkmenistana
3
Predsedatelyu RAKHMANOVU Y.
Telegrams: Turkmenistan, 744000 Ashgabat, Verkhovny sud, Presedatelyu
Rakhmonov Y.
Salutation: Dear Chairman
COPIES TO:
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Boris Shikhmyradov
Turkmenistan
744000 g. Ashgabat
pr. Magtymguly, 83
MID Turkmenistana
Ministru SHIKHMYRADOVU B.
Faxes: + 7 3632 or + 993 1 followed by 51 14 30 (it can be difficult to get
a connection)
and to diplomatic representatives of Turkmenistan accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 5 April 1997.

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