Amnesty International welcomes the release of Gurbandurdy Durdykuliev, a 64 year-old prisoner of conscience from Turkmenistan, who was forcibly confined to a psychiatric hospital in 2004, after asking President Niyazov for authorization to hold a peaceful political protest.
Durdykuliev was one of Amnesty International USA’s five Special Focus Cases in 2006. AIUSA activists from across the country worked on his behalf. More than 400 AIUSA student groups in the Northeast United States “adopted” Durdykuliev, sending hundreds of letters and petitions to Turkmen authorities calling for his immediate release.
AIUSA also worked with Congress to draw more attention to Durdykuliev’s case, both by writing letters and meeting with officials. On April 4, 2006 – partly due to AIUSA’s efforts – 54 members of Congress sent a letter to the President of Turkmenistan calling for Durdykuliev’s release and condemning the use of forced psychiatric confinement of political dissidents.