FEBRUARY 22, 2018
The family and friends of Teymur Akhmedov are increasingly concerned for his welfare. Mr. Akhmedov, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, is 61 years old and had been suffering from poor health even before his imprisonment more than a year ago. On February 8, 2018, he underwent surgery to remove two tumors, one of which was malignant. His family and his attorneys have pleaded with authorities to release him from detention, concerned about conditions in the correctional facility in Pavlodar and about his need for further medical attention. Their pleas have thus far been ignored.
Courts in Kazakhstan harshly sentenced Teymur Akhmedov to a five-year prison term, due to expire in 2022. Mr. Akhmedov did nothing more than exercise his right to freedom of religion, but for this he was arrested and prosecuted by the authorities. They have even placed his name on the list of those whose bank accounts are blocked because of perceived links to terrorism. Kazakhstan courts have rejected all appeals.
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention sent its opinion to the Kazakhstan government, urging the authorities to release Mr. Akhmedov and acquit him of the false charges. Additionally, the UN Human Rights Committee urgently requested that Kazakhstan release him from prison because of his poor health.
Mr. Akhmedov’s attorney stated: “Teymur’s unjust imprisonment, along with his poor health and his need for medical care, cries out for justice. Similar to the urgings of the UN agencies, we plead with Kazakhstan authorities to extend compassion and release Teymur from prison without delay.”