London, 11 July 1997 (RFE/RL) -- The London-based human rights organization Amnesty International today released a report calling for Turkmenistan's government to make "full and immediate disclosure" of the facts surrounding the arrest, trial and imprisonment of the so-called "Ashgabat Eight."
The eight men were detained in the aftermath of a demonstration on July 12, 1995, when hundreds of people peacefully protested against economic hardships in the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat. Authorities denied the demonstration had been a political protest, and seven of the men were convicted of crimes unrelated to the demonstration. The fate of the eighth man remains unclear.
Amnesty International says the men were reportedly tried under conditions that violate international standards for fair trails, to which Turkmenistan is bound. The human rights organization says it seeks assurances from the Turkmen government that the men were not tortured, threatened or forced to plead guilty.