Activists protesting at UN call on Turkmenistan to end forced labor in cotton fields & release imprisoned human rights defender

Author: The Cotton Campaign, Published on: 4 October 2018

Protesters gathered outside the United Nations headquarters in New York today demanded an end to state-sponsored forced labor in Turkmenistan’s cotton industry and presented a petition signed by over 84,000 people from around the world that urged the Turkmen government immediately release Gaspar Matalaev and allow him to continue his work safety...Gaspar Matalaev, a reporter with the Alternative Turkmenistan News (ATN) who had monitored and reported on the systematic use of forced adult and child labor in Turkmenistan during cotton harvesting, was arrested in October 2016, just two days after ATN published his extensive report on Turkmenistan’s labor practices. While in detention, Matalaev has been tortured by electric shock and held incommunicado. Throughout the investigation and trial, he did not have access to effective legal representation or to key files, information, and documents. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions determined the arrest and deprivation of liberty of Gaspar Matalaev was ‘arbitrary’.

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