Support the ‘disappeared’

editorial image
Have your say

Imagine getting a call from a loved one to say that he’d be home at 4pm that day, but then finding he didn’t turn up, and there has been no sign of him since.

That was the experience of the family of freelance journalist Saparmamed Nepeskuliev in Turkmenistan on July 7, this year.

He had been on a trip to gather information for his work as a freelance journalist for Alternative News Turkmenistan (ATN) and Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty’s Turkmen service. His family believes he has been held in incommunicado detention by the Turkmenistani authorities since then and that his detention is linked to his work as a journalist.

Saparmamed’s case is a familiar one. In many countries people are “disappeared” as a result of peaceful activities of which their government doesn’t approve. To recognise this August 30 each year marks International Day of the Disappeared.

Members of Wearside Amnesty International will be campaigning on cases like Saparmamed’s. For more information,go to

Steve Newman,

secretary, Wearside Amnesty International Group