TURKMENISTAN: Four prisoners amnestied, one to be deported?

TURKMENISTAN: Four prisoners amnestied, one to be deported?

By Felix Corley, Forum 18 News Service <http://www.forum18.org>

Four of the six religious prisoners of conscience in Turkmenistan have been amnestied, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. However, one of the four – Baptist pastor Vyacheslav Kalataevsky – remains in custody and may be deported. “We’re worried as there is only a small hope that he will be allowed to stay here,” members of Kalataevsky’s family told Forum 18. “The family and the Church want him to stay – and he wants to stay.” They say the Ukrainian embassy has also appealed to the Turkmen authorities for Kalataevsky – a Ukrainian citizen – to be allowed to remain with his family in Turkmenistan. The three other amnestied religious prisoners are all Jehovah’s Witnesses who were serving suspended sentences for refusing compulsory military service on grounds of religious conscience. But not freed under amnesty were Jehovah’s Witnesses Bayram Ashirgeldyyev and Begench Shakhmuradov. Both are serving two-year suspended sentences which place limitations on their activities.

http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=1031

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