April 21, 2021

Gaspar is finally free…

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By Joanna Ewart-James, Freedom United 

Gaspar Matalaev is finally free after serving his full three-year prison sentence for reporting on forced labor in Turkmenistan’s cotton fields. His freedom comes as a huge relief to all who have been campaigning for his release, but he should never have spent these past three years behind bars.

Although Gaspar is now free, his recovery process is only just beginning. Terrible conditions in prison have seriously impacted Gaspar’s health and he will continue to need support. Can you chip in to help Gaspar recover?

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Our actions have meant a lot to Gaspar – Gaspar’s first message on his release was a huge thank you to everyone who has supported him.

Ruslan Myatiev, our partner at the Cotton Campaign, said:

“We are relieved that Gaspar is out of prison and home with his family where he belongs. But make no mistake, every day that Gaspar spent in prison was a travesty of justice to punish him for his human rights work and intimidate others from speaking out about abuses.”

Gaspar was detained on the evening of October 4, 2016 at his home in Turkmenabad just two days after the publication of his work to expose the use of state-sanctioned forced labor.

Turkmen.news reports:[1]

“That night they came for Gaspar. While in police custody, employees of the Ministry of Homeland Security under torture by electric shock, forced him to sign a confession of fraud and giving a bribe. A month later, a judge of the Turkmenabad city court Gulshirin Sukhanberdyeva sentenced the activist to three years in prison.”

We are so grateful to over 100,000 people around the world who came together to stand in solidarity with Gaspar.Together we will continue to fight for anti-slavery activists everywhere working to expose exploitation and abuse.

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