Gaspar Matalaev, a human rights defender in Turkmenistan, will mark his 35th birthday on June 15 from prison, where he has been since shortly after he was arrested on October 4, 2016. The arrest came two days after Gaspar had posted an article and pictures documenting the Turkmen government's forced mobilization of citizens to harvest cotton, an annual obligation in the repressive Central Asian nation. Police told Gaspar the arrest had something to do with photos he had posted to internet, but the Turkmen government still brought fraud charges against Gaspar, and purpotedly tortured Gaspar with electroshocks to get him to confess.
We want to use the occassion of Gaspar's birthday to appeal to the Turkmen government to release Gaspar. There is a traditional day of amnesty at the end of the Ramadan period, around June 24th. Please join us in sending a birthday card on Gaspar's behalf to a Turkmen embassy near you. It takes only a few easy steps:
- Print off the PDF document below, make sure you print it two-sided. Sign it, feel free to add your own personal message if you like. Fold it in thirds, so the Happy Birthday image is on top.
- Mail the card to a Turkmen embassy near you. Addresses for the largest embassies are linked here: North America (Canada, U.S., and Mexico), the United Kingdom, Paris, Belgium and Germany. Additional embassy addresses can be found here.
- Contact us at cottoncampaigncoordinator [at] gmail.com to tell us you sent it. We will pass your birthday gretings on to Gaspar himself, so he knows people around the world are fighting for him to be released.
Thank you for taking action!