Defense of Turkmen Activists who are Living in a Repressive Environment

Crude Accountability was actively involved in both campaigns to defend internationally renowned environmentalist, Andrey Zatoka, when he was imprisoned in Turkmenistan. He was imprisoned the first time in December 2006 and spent 2 months in prison, before the authorities let him go. He was arrested on fabricated charges, and upon his release, denied the right to travel freely inside Turkmenistan or to leave the country. He was arrested a second time in October 2009, again on false charges, and subjected to a trial, which by accounts of all human rights organizations following the case, was unfair and in violation of his rights. Following intense international pressure, Zatoka’s prison sentence was commuted and he was allowed to go free on the condition that he renounce his Turkmen citizenship and leave the country forever. He is currently living in Russia with his family. See archived materials on the campaign for Zatoka’s release.

In June 2010, representatives of the Ministry of National Security in Dashovuz, Turkmenistan—the same town where Zatoka lived and worked—began harassing family members and former neighbors of Farid Tukhbatullin, a former political prisoner in Turkmenistan. Tukhbatullin was arrested on false charges in 2002 and imprisoned until April 2003, when he was released after a massive international campaign on his behalf. He was forced to leave Turkmenistan and since then has lived in Europe with his family, continuing his peaceful civil society work. Representatives of the Ministry of National Security asked Dashovuz residents about Tukhbatullin’s sons, who live and work with him in Europe, intimidating the individuals with whom they spoke. This practice, known as collective punishment, is widespread in Turkmenistan. Tukhbatullin wrote a statement to international human rights activists and representatives of western governments, asking for support. Crude Accountability collected signatures on his behalf and sent a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan asking him to put a stop to the repression in Dashovuz. See our letter and the statement from Tukhbatullin here.