Gulgeldy Annaniyazov’s long spell in prison was supposed to end this year, but without concerted international action his ordeal will drag on.
Annaniyazov is a dissident from Turkmenistan. He was arrested in 1995 for helping to organize a peaceful demonstration in Ashgabat, the capital, demanding democratic elections and protesting economic hardships. Police crushed the protest because – and this remains true today – Turkmenistan does not tolerate dissent of any kind. Annaniyazov was handed a 15-year sentence.
He was released under an amnesty four years into his sentence, but in 2002, after years of living under constant surveillance, Annaniyazov fled to Kazakhstan, only to be arrested for allegedly traveling on a false passport. Following calls by Human Rights Watch and requests by foreign governments, Kazakhstan released Annaniyazov. He was granted refugee status and resettled in Norway in 2002 with his wife and son.
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