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Please support Geldy Kyarizov,
former Horse Minister of Turkmenistan
Thank you!

Action for Geldy

site updates

this page last updated
     18 February, 2014


 

Letters you can send in support of Geldy

posted 18th February 2014

We have prepared three letters for you to download and send. Further information available here.

Amnesty International issue 3rd Urgent Action call

posted 2nd February 2014

On 28th January 2014, Amnesty International issued an Urgent Action call on Geldy's behalf, owing to his current medical condition. More information is available here. Please add your voice in support.

 

Archive (to 21st February 2012)

   

posted 21st February 2012

We have prepared three letters. Further information available here.

3rd Feb 2012 - Amnesty International issue Urgent Action call

posted 5th February 2012

On 3rd February 2012, Amnesty International issued an Urgent Action call on Geldy's behalf, owing to his current medical condition. More information is available here. Please add your voice in support.

6th March 2007 - update

6th March 2007
Efforts to secure Geldy's release are constantly in progress. News of the main ones is listed below. (Please also see our Reports and Pictures page.)

6th Mar 2007 - Geldy's case raised in UK Parliament Written Answers

In Written Answers for 27th February 2007, Geoff Hoon (Minister of State (Europe), Foreign & Commonwealth Office) responded to questions put by Mr Andrew Rosindell, MP for Romford (Conservative), who had asked for a statement on relations between the UK and Turkmenistan and Mr. Alistair Carmichael (Liberal Democrat MP for Orkney and Shetland), who had asked what recent representations the Government had made on behalf of Turkmenistan human rights defenders.

Replying for the Government, Mr Hoon welcomed the election of the new president and saif the UK stands ready, with EU colleagues and the international community, to assist the government of Turkmenistan in the implementation of democratic reforms and the development of civil society.

In his reply to Mr Carmichael, Mr Hoon said that Geldy's case had been raised by the British Embassy in Ashgabat in January who, together with other EU embassies, had also taken action in February. Geldy's case had also been raised on behalf of the EU on the 16th February by EU Special Representative Pierre Morel, who raised the cases of several human rights defenders while visiting Turkmenistan. Mr Hoon went on to say that the UK is working closely with its EU and international partners to offer co-ordinated support and assistance to the government of Turkmenistan in implementing democratic and human rights reforms.

Read the full text in Hansard here.

9th Feb 2007 - Amnesty International calls for a retrial or the release of Geldy

Yesterday, 8th February 2007, Amnesty International published the document Turkmenistan Victims need justice now! A compilation of cases, requesting the incoming president (the election is set for Sunday, 11th February) to "break with the country’s long legacy of repression and offer its people a new commitment to human rights."

The document makes calls on the newly elected President to take immediate steps to reverse Turkmenistan’s dire record of torture, imprisonment and forced exile and makes eighteen calls for action on the part of the new government, including two specific to Geldy:

    • "ensure that Geldy Kyarizov is immediately provided with all necessary medical treatment


    • "release him immediately if he is not to be promptly and fairly tried in proceedings that conform to international standards for fair trial and are open to international observers"

The full text of the document is available at the Amnesty International website here.

9th February 2007 - UK and Irish MEPs take up Geldy's case

We should like to express our deep appreciation for the recent efforts of two Members of the European Parliament, Mr. Malcolm Harbour MEP and Avril Doyle MEP.

Malcolm Harbour MEP
Mr. Malcolm Harbour MEP [European People's Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats (EPP-ED)], has tabled, jointly with the European Parliamentary Conservative spokesman on foreign affairs, Charles Tannock MEP, a written question to the European Commission and the Council about Geldy.

Mr Harbour said he hopes to receive a response from the Commission shortly, and also hopes that the German Government (who currently hold the presidency of the Council) might be able to help as they are influential in the region.

Text of the questions tabled to the

and

Avril Doyle MEP
Avril Doyle, a member of the EU Parliament and president (or immediate past president) of the Irish Equestrian Federation, has written to Ona Jukneviciené MEP (Chairwoman Delegation to the EU-Kazakhstan, EU-Kyrgyzstan and EU-Uzbekistan Parliamentary Cooperation Committees and Delegation for relations with Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Mongolia), relating Geldy's case and urging her in her capacity as Chairwoman of the Delegation responsible for Turkmenistan, to take the matter on board with the relevant authorities with some urgency, and pursue Geldy's immediate release.

2nd February 2007 - Amnesty International call for action

Amnesty International have just issued a call for action in support of Geldy through their Urgent Action network.

Please support the call. Further details here.

24th January 2007 - AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL TAKE UP GELDY'S CASE

There have been a number of developments in Geldy's situation in recent days.

The first is that Amnesty International have taken up his case, marking him for 'Urgent Action'.

The second is that the Turkmen Helsinki Foundation, a Human Rights group, has received an eye-witness account of the massacre of 23 prisoners at Ovadan Depe Prison, which is the most likely location for Geldy if he is still alive. (See article http://www.turkishweekly.net/news.php?id=42170 ) This is so far unsubstantiated; Amnesty International are investigating.

The third is that the government have begun to demolish Mr. Kyarizov's stud farm, and yesterday were pulling off the roof literally from around the horses. This was threatened last year, but the family secured written confirmation that they would not be evicted until they had been found alternative accommodation. Now this has been overruled by the KNB (former KGB). Diana, Geldy's younger sister-in-law, writes:

"We had a letter from the Procurater of Ashabad that we will stay at our place untill we will be given a new land. But they demolished us. We seen a letter from the Minister of KNB. He signed it by himself personally. He wrote to Hakim of Ashabad city that he must demolish the stables and Take That Horses away. That is his words. The letter from 9.01.2007 4-104."

Last October the European Union took a strong stance against Turkmenistan's appalling Human Rights record. With the former President now dead and an "election" pending, there has never been a better time to persuade Turkmenistan to amend its Human Rights record.

We ask that people write to their MP, The Foreign Office, and their MEPs requesting that they ask the Turkmen government whether Geldy is still alive.

Letters are available for downloading.

 

December 2006 - Ovadan Tepe and report of Geldy's death through torture

When he was not released, it subsequently appeared that Geldy had been transferred to Turkmenistan's notorious Ovadan Depe prison for political prisoners. Further, on 15th December, the family received a deeply disturbing visit from a man purporting to be from the KNB (formerly the KGB) who told them that Geldy had recently died under torture. The family have had no confirmation of this and hope that it was merely a continuation of the intimidation they have been the subject of over recent months.

Work has been in progress behind the scenes for several weeks to bring Geldy's situation to the attention of the media. The recent death of President Niyazov raised the profile of Turkmenistan, and the opportunity was taken through the UK's The Daily Telegraph.

  • March 2005 - a letter from Geldy's wife asking the international community to contact, on her behalf, any International organizations that can help free her husband and stop the antagonism towards her family.
  • January 2005 - request for you to write to your MP etc.; news from Geldy's sister that Geldy is eligible for parole but that this has not been granted; response from UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office; a letter from Geldy's wife to the US Ambassador in Turkmenistan.

February 2006 - The British Embassy

British Embassy Support for Geldy

The British Embassy in Ashgabat continues to be concerned about Geldy Kyarizov's condition in prison. The Embassy is in regular correspondence with us and maintains close contact with the family whom they meet on a regular basis. The Embassy has made a number of representations to the authorities in Turkmenistan and continues to do so both on Geldy's case and the wider issue of human rights in general.

 

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March 2005 - Yulia Serebryannik

A letter from Yulia Serebryannik, Geldy's wife, asking for help.

March 2005

Dear friends – Members of International Akhal-teke Breeding Association !

My name is Yulia L’vovna Serebryannik; I am the wife of Geldy Kurbangel’dyevich Kyarizov.

My husband is a famous breeder and selectioner. He has bred the famous stallion Yanardag - the symbol of Turkmenistan. He has always fought for purity of the breed. My husband played an invaluable role in preserving and developing Akhal-teke breed across the world. My husband has established the President’s stables. He gifted the President such fine horses as Bitaraplyk, Karfagen, Kervenbashi, Mahatma and Alp-Arslan.

My husband has been decorated with medals “For love to the Nation” and “Gairat”. He is a member of the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan.

For more than three years now my husband has been locked up in prison. In 2002 he was convicted for negligence and overstepping authority. This case was fabricated by KNB (equivalent to Russian KGB*), in particular M. Nazarov, H. Allakuliev and A. Ovezov. My husband was arrested on 31/01/02 without an order from the General Prosecutor and was detained in SIZO KNB facility for two weeks.

He was forced to appear on National television and “confess” his crimes. Prior to this appearance he was threatened with torture to himself and his family. As a result he “confessed” to stealing horses, cars and 53,000 000 manat.

During the court hearing my husband was found not guilty of any of these crimes and the accusations were dropped. But even though there was enough evidence to prove his innocence he was sentenced to 6 years of imprisonment for negligence and overstepping authority.

A month later following his illegal arrest, imprisonment in KNB facility and extreme psychological pressure my husband suffered a heart attack, pneumonia, a stroke and partial paralysis. He has lost 30 kilograms of body weight.

At present moment he has already served a half of his sentence. According to the Criminal Code of Turkmenistan Constitution he is eligible for conditional release.

During the three years that my husband has spent in LBK-12 facility he was not allowed to receive any medical treatment in a specialized unit under the care of medical practitioners. I am a cardiologist myself and I am aware that a patient that suffered a heat attack and a stroke has to be hospitalized for special treatment annually. Particularly, considering my husband’s poor health condition.

He suffers from high blood pressure 180/110 mm. At any moment he can suffer a repeated heart attack. Constant high arterial pressure can cause a repeated stroke, which can affect vital areas of the brain and cause death.

When my husband suffered a second heart attack in 2003, we could not even arrange for his admittance to Maryisky prison hospital.

My husband has served ½ of his term without any incidents of misbehavior but instead of granting him conditional release the prison was visited by a Commission including the vice director of DIN Aman Yazkuliev, representatives from the Prosecutor’s office and a group of operatives from Department 6, who chose to interview my husband – the only person out of 1500 inmates.

The operatives from Department 6 asked my husband which barrack he lives in, who are his inmates and most interestingly they questioned whether he had any misbehavior incidents, and how much time he spent in the prison hospital. Further they officially warned him not to get involved in inter prison theft activities and similar nonsense.

This is real blackmail, i.e. we are shown that if we do not shut up and do not stop demanding my husband’s constitutional rights, then he can be accused of absolutely anything.

It is very interesting that at the time of the interview the vice director of DIN and the representatives of the Prosecutor’s office have left the room and the operatives of Department 6 calmly proceeded to convince my husband that he will have to serve the entire 6 years.

We are well aware of the methods used in prisons when drugs are planted in the prisoners’ cells, when false witnesses are used to incriminate inmates or when the administration itself fabricates none existing offences for inappropriate clothing, or for not shaving or cutting one’s hair, even though all inmates in LBK-12 are dressed in special uniforms and shave their heads daily.

The Prosecutor of the prison forbids not only receiving treatment in LBK-12 medical unit but even visiting the facility, even though I have an official document signed by R. Haitmuratov where he guarantees that my husband will be kept under constant monitoring from the doctors of LBK-12 medical unit (copy attached).

Furthermore, LBK-12 administration advises that my husband’s candidature can not be forwarded to the commission for conditional release because he does not dance or sing to entertain the administration.

Currently my husband lives in an airless communal barrack with 50 other inmates, despite the letter from the director of DIN – R. Haitmuratov, where he guarantees that my husband will be kept under constant monitoring by the medical specialists.

My husband has been stripped off all his rights – right for health, right for medical treatment, right for conditional release and even right to live.

I ask you to contact, on my behalf, any International organizations that can help free my husband and stop the antagonism towards our family.

With respect Yulia Serebryannik.

*Translator’s note

Organisations are listed on the Support Geldy page.

 

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January 2005

Geldy was not included in the general amnesty in December 2004 but is legally eligible for parole, although this has to date been refused by the authorities. After trying silence for a year, the family have restarted the public campaign to free Geldy. They would be grateful for any help, and three form letters/faxes are available at this website.

First, though, please read the following:

Approaches for help have been made to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and - in Britain - local MPs and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). The latest FCO reply states:

“The British Embassy in Ashgabat sent a Note Verbale drawing the attention of the Government of Turkmenistan to letters to the Foreign Office from British MPs about Mr. Kyarizov. The British Embassy also requested a meeting with Mr. Kyarizov in order to gain reassurances about his health and welfare, and made a request for information from the Turkmen Ministry of Foreign Affairs concerning this matter.

“The British Embassy in Ashgabat has continued to request authorisation for its own officials to visit prisons and on 24 November [2004] the Ambassador again highlighted to the Turkmen Foreign Minister the importance we attach to allowing the International Red Cross (ICRC) unconditional access to prisons and prisoners.”

According to Turkmen law, Geldy is now eligible for parole (see the letter below by his wife) but this has been refused on the grounds described by his sister-in-law:

"We have received a letter from the director of the prison who has written to us that they can not release Geldy in conditional release because of “bad behaviour” - because he did not dance and sing a song and also he did not receive the salary *. To dance and sing songs should come from a man’s good will; I mean if he wants to dance and sing songs he can do it, and if he doesn't want no one must not press on him to do it. He can't do it. He is ill. This is a violation of human rights. That means that they are putting pressure on him, making him dance and entertain the Administration of the prison. They are humiliating him! How can a man who has had a heart attack, and whose left side is paralysed, dance and entertain the Administration of the prison?! He has high blood pressure and he can't breathe normally. It is torture!

"They have written to us (we have an official letter) that Geldy is in the medical unit of the prison. Now we have an official letter from the director of the prison that they humiliate him. This all means that if he can't dance he will not be freed.

*Usually in prison the prisoners must work, they receive salary. This salary is given to their family or if the prisoner has debts to the state that money goes to the state. But in Geldy's case everything is different. He is ill and when he came to prison he was ill already. He had had a heart attack, his left side paralysed, high blood pressure and he can't breathe normally. That means that he can't work at all. We have an official letter from the department of execution of punishment where they wrote that Geldy is in medical department of the prison permanently. Geldy has no debt to the state. That is why the question about salary has no sense."

A letter from Geldy's wife to the US Ambassador in Turkmenistan, explaining Geldy's situation:

To the Ambassador of USA in Ashgabat
From Serebryanik Yu. L.
Of 1/26 A. Navoi


Dear Madam Ambassador,


I am the wife of Kyarizov G.K. My husband is Kyarizov Geldy Kurbangeldyevich, born on the 18th January 1951 in Ashgabat a Turkmen national, citizen of Turkmenistan, married and with higher education, member of Democratic Party of Turkmenistan, international expert on breeding and selection of pure bred Akhal Teke horses, leading horse specialist of the world, he was awarded the decoration “For love to the Nation”, and two medals “Gairat” and “For love to the Nation”, had no previous convictions, and was working as the Managing Director of “Turkmen Atlyry”, chairman of International Association of Akhal-Teke breeding (MAAK) until his arrest on the 30/1/2002.

The warrant for his arrest was issued on the 06/02/2002. Nazarov M, Kakaev H, Allakuliev and Ovezov A. personally worked on his case. Allakuliev and Orazov often visited him in his cell and threatened with physical harm not only to him but to his entire family.

Nazarov pressured my husband to make a public appearance on TV, threatening him with torture in case of his refusal. My husband was forced to state that he stole 58 horses, cars and 53 million manta. A cell mate was put into my husband’s cell that was tortured with electric shock. This man bled from his ears and his throat for several days. As a result of such pressure my husband made a public appearance on TV.

Due to inhumane living conditions in KNB* he had a heart attack and was paralyzed on the left side. He also developed pneumonia and lost 30kg of weight during his time in KNB.

During his trial my husband was very sick and was unable to properly defend himself. At first he was accused of stealing national property. There was no mention of overstepping authority and negligence at this stage. He was found not guilty. The Court found that no theft of horses or money occurred. His confiscated property and money was returned.

He was found guilty on the account of negligence and overstepping his authority under the sections 181 part 1, 181 part 2 and 188 part 1 of the Criminal Law of Turkmenistan. In accordance with the verdict of Ashgabat city court, the time my husband spent under arrest from 30/1/02 to 4/4/02 was equaled to 2 days of imprisonment.

Currently he is kept in LB-K/12


According to the section 76 of the Criminal Law of Turkmenistan, he is entitled to be released on parole. Section 76 states:

  1. For a person undergoing a punishment in the way of imprisonment for a crime of low or medium severity, the Court, considering the person’s behaviour during the time of imprisonment, may substitute the remaining time of his punishment with a softer option of the punishment. This person may be cleared partially or completely from the remaining punishment.
  2. The substitution of the remaining time of the punishment with a softer option of the punishment may be applied after the person in question has served no less then one third of their original punishment term.
  3. When substituting the remaining time of the punishment with a softer option of punishment the court may choose any softer option of punishment listed in the section 44 of this Law, within the limits set for the appropriate type of punishment.

My husband was convicted by Ashgabat city court on the 0/04/2002 under the sections of 181 part 1, 181 part 2 and 188 part 1 of the Criminal Law of Turkmenistan to serve 6 years of imprisonment.

In accordance with section 3 part 11 of the Criminal Law of Turkmenistan these crimes are considered to belong to medium severity category, therefore section 76 may be applied here.

For several years we constantly submitted letters and petitions addressed to the President, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Turkmenistan and the Attorney General of Turkmenistan (answers attached).

On the 11/10/2004 a letter was submitted to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Turkmenistan asking to include my husband’s name into the list of people granted parole. His name was not included into this list. According to Turkmen Law he is entitled to be released on parole.

I am currently unemployed and I have two small children. We ask that you look into this situation and make sure that my husband’s constitutional rights are restored.

Thanking you in anticipation

With Respect

Serebryanik Yu. L.


* translator’s note: KNB is Committee for National Safety (like KGB was in its time).

 

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