TURKMENISTAN: Three conscientious objectors sentenced


War Resisters' International learned today about the sentencing of
three conscientious objectors in Turkmenistan. Nuryagdy Gairov
(TKM14926) has been sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment on 18 July, at
a closed trial at Kopetdag district court in the Turkmen capital
Ashgabat, for "evasion of call-up to military service". According to
Jehovah's Witness sources quoted by Amnesty International, he did not
have a lawyer and his family had not been informed of the trial. He had
been arrested on 14 June, and had been held incommunicado for over a

Gairov's mother died on 17 July, and shortly afterwards Gairov received
his first visitor, another Jehovah's Witness, who had been summoned by
police and asked to see Nuryagdy Gairov and tell him that his mother
had died, Amnesty International reports.

Bayram Ashirgeldiev (TKM14925) was sentenced to a suspended sentence of
two years on 20 July by Kopetdag district court. According to Forum 18 News
, relatives reported that "the judge told Bayram after
the trial that, in two years' time, he will again be called up. If he
then refuses, he will then face three to five years in prison.

As Ashirgeldiev received a suspended sentence, he was freed after the

Aleksandr Zuev (TKM14928), another Jehovah's Witness, was charged on
28 June with "evasion of call-up to military service". He too was given
a suspended sentence of two years, by Azatlik district court.

Both, Nuryagdy Gairov and Aleksandr Zuev have not been punished for
the first time for their conscientious objection. Gairov was detained
for one year in 1999-2000. Zuev has also served a previous sentence on
the same charges after refusing an earlier call-up. He was arrested in
May 2000 and sentenced the following month to one year and six months'

War Resisters' International calls for letters of support to
Nuryagdy Gairov:

Nuryagdy Gairov


746222 Lebap vilayet,


uchr. LB-K/12

(please note that he will only be transferred in about 20 days time)

War Resisters' International calls for letters of protest to the
Turkmen president:


    President of Turkmenistan

    Apparat Prezidenta

    744000 Ashgabat


    Fax: +993 12 355112

War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of
Nuryagdy Gairov and all other imprisoned conscientious objectors.

Andreas Speck

War Resisters' International

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