Pygamberdy Allaberdyev is a lawyer serving a six year prison sentence in Turkmenistan for pro-democracy activism.
Prior to his arrest, Allaberdyev worked for the Nebitdagneft department of the Ministry of Oil and Gas of Turkmenistan. In the months leading up to his arrest, he began to make his views public.
On September 5, 2020, Allaberdyev was arrested on hooliganism charges resulting from an incident at a grocery store where he was physically attacked by an unidentified individual. Despite the fact that he did not start the altercation, Allaberdyev was charged, while his assailant was set free.
Allaberdyev’s arrest occurred in the lead-up to a pro-democracy rally that he was organizing. While interrogating Allaberdyev, authorities focused their questions on his connections with activists associated with the rally rather than on the incident at the grocery store.
On September 29, 2020, Allaberdyev was convicted and sentenced to six years imprisonment for hooliganism. The judgment was handed down after a two-hour trial that was closed to the public. Allaberdyev was not represented by a lawyer during the proceedings as his original lawyer withdrew from the case after apparent government pressure.
Since his conviction, Allaberdyev has been held incommunicado. Prison authorities have consistently denied requests for his family to contact him.
In October 2021, Freedom Now and Vinson & Elkins filed a petition with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on Allaberdyev’s behalf. In April 2022, the Working Group found his detention to be a violation of international law.
In December 2021, Freedom Now submitted a list of issues for the UN Human Rights Committee to consider as it initiated its periodic review of Turkmenistan. Included those issues were the circumstances of Allaberdyev’s case.
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Enforcing the Rule of Law
Opinion of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary DetentionApril 1, 2022
List of Issues to the UN Human Rights CommitteeDecember 21, 2021
Petition to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary DetentionOctober 12, 2021
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Can you imagine a doctor being imprisoned just for treating a patient, or a journalist detained simply for publishing an article critical of his government?