TURKMENISTAN: Second imprisonment for Atamurat Suvkhanov


Atamurat Suvkhanov, a conscientious objector in Turkmenistan, has been imprisoned for the second time.

You can send a protest email here.

Background information
Atamurat Suvkhanov is a Jehovah's Witness conscientious objectors in Turkmenistan. He has already been sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment in December 2004 - on that occasion being released from jail in April 2005 early as part of an amnesty.

While awaiting his appeal, Suvkhanov "told his relatives that the authorities intend to keep him for quite a long time in the investigation prison trying to break his will" (Forum 18). Atamurat Suvkhanov is appealing this sentence.

These brings to nine the number of known conscientious objector prisoners of conscience in Turkmenistan.

This sentencing comes after ten conscientious objectors from Turkmenistan have filed complaints to the UN Human Rights Committee, detailing torture in detention and other violation of their rights to freedom of religion or belief. Many of the complainants and their families have been harassed and tortured after these complaints were made. See our recent CO-Alert for information.

Ignoring international standards
This sentence is a violation of Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which guarantees the right to conscientious objection. Turkmenistan is a party to the ICCPR. As such, it is bound by the standards set out in the Covenant.

What you can do
War Resisters' International calls for protest letters to the Turkmen authorities, and Turkmen embassies abroad, either by fax, email or letter.

A protest email can be sent at /node/21520

Please also write to:
Kurbanguly Berdymuhammedov
President of Turkmenistan
Apparat Prezidenta
744000 Ashgabat
Fax: +993 12 355112

You can find a list of embassies abroad here.

War Resisters' International calls for Atamurat Suvkhanov to be immediately released, along with all other conscientious objectors imprisoned in Turkmenistan.

Hannah Brock
War Resisters' International