TURKMEN ACTIVISTS HAVE BEEN RELEASED AFTER SERVING PRISON TERM.
Two Turkmen activists Annakurban Amanklychev and Sapardurdy Khadzhiev have been released from prison in Turkmenistan today (February 16, 2013) after serving their full prison terms. Amanklychev and Khadjiyev were sentenced to seven years in prison for helping to make a documentary about Turkmenistan in 2006 for “Envoyé spécial,” a current affairs programme broadcast by the French state-owned TV station France 2, and for gathering information about the human rights situation for the Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation. Initially, the government accused them of spying for Western intelligence services. Later, the charges were changed to "illegal acquisition, possession or sale of firearms or ammunition."
A third person who was convicted at the same time, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty correspondent in Turkmenistan Ogulsapar Muradova, died in detention in September 2006 after being tortured. International human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, have repeatedly called on the Turkmen government to release Amanklychev and Khadjiyev and to conduct open investigation into the case of Muradova’s death in detention.
In 2010, The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention called for the immediate release of Amanklychev and Khajiev, claiming that their detention is a violation of international law.
In 2011, Amnesty International called Amanklychev A. and S. Khadziyev prisoners of conscience.
Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights February 16, 2013