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TURKMENISTAN: Three conscientious objectors sentenced

  • Turkmenistan

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 month.
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 service, 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 trial.

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' imprisonment.

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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