Rights defender Gaspar Matalaev has now spent more than two years in prison for the ‘crime’ of documenting the massive use of forced labour in the cotton fields of Turkmenistan. Arrested on October 4, 2016, two days after publishing a report on forced labour in the 2016 harvest, he was reportedly subjected to torture in order to extract a forced ‘confession’ to crimes he never committed.
Matalaev remains behind bars despite international protests, pledges by major global apparel brands to refrain from buying cotton from Turkmenistan and a May 2018 US ban on the import of Turkmen cotton. The fight to free Gaspar is an integral part of the fight to end forced labour involving thousands of children and adults and the ruthless suppression freedom of association and free speech by the despotic government of Turkmenistan.
Please sign and share this petition in support of the immediate and unconditional release of rights defender Gaspar Matalaev!
The IUF is one of the founding members of the Central Asia Labour Rights Monitoring Mission established in 2016 by independent trade unions and human rights groups to defend freedom of association and democratic rights in Central Asia. Updates are posted regularly on the website.