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The letter to Ministry of Foreign Affairs

On October 20, 2009, Mr. Andrey Zatoka, an internationally renowned environmental expert, was arrested in his hometown of Dashovuz, Turkmenistan and is being detained in prison on charges of inflicting bodily harm.

Minister Rashid Meredov

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Prospect Makhtumkuli, 83

744000, Ashgabad


Fax: +993-12-35-42-41


October 23, 2009


Dear Minister Meredov:


On October 20, 2009, Mr. Andrey Zatoka, an internationally renowned environmental expert, was arrested in his hometown of Dashovuz, Turkmenistan and is being detained in prison on charges of inflicting bodily harm.  


Mr. Zatoka is a well respected environmentalist who has contributed enormously to the Turkmen, Central Asian and international environmental movements.  He is a founding member of the International Socio-Ecological Union, founder of the Dashovuz Ecology Club, and has worked with many international environmental organizations including the United Nations.  He is a biologist who graduated from Ural State University, and who has worked in Turkmenistan protecting the environment for over 20 years.


Mr. Zatoka’s arrest has raised the concerns of the international community, which is closely monitoring Turkmenistan’s observance of international human rights obligations. We respectfully urge you to immediately and unconditionally release Andrey Zatoka, allowing him to return to his family.

His detainment causes great anxiety and concern among his friends and colleagues around the globe and creates a negative image of Turkmenistan in the eyes of the world. We are concerned for his safety and urge you to ensure his safety and immediate release.

Thank you for attention to this matter—we request that it be resolved immediately.


1.       Kate Watters, Crude Accountability, USA

2.       Michelle Kinman, Crude Accountability, USA

3.       Doug Norlen, Pacific Environment, USA

4.       Karin Lissakers,  Revenue Watch Institute, USA

5.       Farid Tukhbatullin, Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights, Austria

6.       Enid Schreibman, Center for Safe Energy, USA

7.       Mika Minio-Paluello, PLATFORM, England

8.       Neil Tangri, GAIA, USA

9.       Alexey Zimenko, Biodiversity Conservation Center, Russia

10.   Mary Dalsin, Public Health Trust, Public Health Institute, USA

11.   Ivar Dale, Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Norway

12.   Yann Louvel, Friends of the Earth, France

13.   Valeria Enriquez, Fundar, Center for Analysis and Research, Mexico

14.   Regine Richter, Urgewald, Germany

15.   Jora Wolterink, BankTrack, The Netherlands

16.   Elena Gerebizza, Campagna per la Riforma della Banca Mondiale, Italy

17.   David Gordon, Pacific Environment, USA

18.   Catherine Porter, Friends of the Ganges, USA

19.   Joe Dalsin, Advent Software, USA

20.   Natalie Bridgeman, Accountability Counsel, USA

21.   BJ Chisholm, California, USA

22.   Ann Pallasch, Virginia, USA

23.   Susie Wood, Tbilisi, Georgia

24.   Amy Wilson, California, USA

25.   John Sterling, California, USA

26.   Amy Forster Rothbart, New York, USA

27.   Amy Spagnola, South Carolina, USA

28.   Kim Schumaker, Virginia, USA

29.   Nelya Tukaeva, California, USA

30.   Viktor Sokolov, California, USA

31.   Elaine Attias, California, USA

32.   Melissa Overton, Missouri, USA

33.   Brian Overton, Missouri, USA

34.   Susan A. Crate, George Mason University, USA

35.   Erika Weinthal, Duke University, USA

36.   Zoya Talitskaya, Moscow, Russia

37.   Jim Boissonnault, Virginia, USA

38.   Susan Linsenbuehler, Germany

39.   Alice H. Grabowski, Virginia, USA

40.   John Musolino IV, California, USA

41.   Teresa Kinman, Nebraska, USA

42.   Rod Kinman, Nebraska, USA

43.   Jean Hardisty, Boston, MA, USA

44.   Anne Delaney

45.   Giorgi Tsintsadze, Biologist, Georgia

46.   Wendy Volkmann, USA

47.   Mele Lau, USA

48.   Melinda Marcus, Duke University, USA

49.   Francis Chandler, Environmental Consulting, USA

50.   James M. Dunn, Georgia, USA

51.   Tamara Kowalski, Texas, USA

52.   Debbie Chapman, California, USA

53.   Alexandra Ewing, Vanderbilt University, USA

54.   Lisa Swaim, Ohio, USA

55.   Patti Karr, California, USA

56.   Huub Scheele, Both ENDS, The Netherlands

57.   Kellie Bingman, North Carolina, USA

58.   Christa Watters, Virginia, USA

59.   Leslie Howerton Jones, Florida, USA

60.   Chris Musolino, Louisiana, USA

Ashley Doucet, Louisiana, USA

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