Civil society activist and environmentalist Andrey Zatoka Freed From Prison in Turkmenistan

Andrey Zatoka, prominent Turkmen civil society activist and environmentalist was arrested on 20 October 2009 in Dashovuz, Turkmenistan. He was attacked by a convicted drug addict and when Zatoka called for help from the police, was himself arrested and eventually sentenced to five years in prison for assault. Grave concerns were immediately expressed that his trial did not meet the international standards and Chairwoman Hautala expressed her concern over the rights and promptly took up the case of Mr. Zsatoka with the Turkmen authorities. After strong international campaign he was freed from prison on 6 November and his sentence was commuted to a $350 fine. [:]

However, while the news of his release are much welcome, Chairwoman Hautala strongly condemns that after being released from prison Mr. Zatoka was forced to relinquish his Turkmen citizenship and leave his home country permanently. Chairwoman Hautala stresses that the Turkemn authorities must respect in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Zatoka as well as of all other human rights defenders in Turkmenistan.