ICCPR Case Digest

CCPR/C/125/D/2448/2014

Communication

2448/2014

Submission: 2014.05.05

View Adopted: 2019.03.29

Vladimir Nuryllayev and Aibek v. Turkmenistan

Violation of the right to freedom of expression and ill-treatment of Jehovah's Witnesses in Turkmenistan

Substantive Issues
  • Fair trial
  • Freedom of religion
  • Non-discrimination
  • Torture / ill-treatment
Relevant Articles
  • Article 14.1
  • Article 14.3 (d)
  • Article 14.3 (e)
  • Article 18
  • Article 2 - OP1
  • Article 26
  • Article 7
Full Text

Facts

The authors are two Jehovah's Witness nationals of Turkmenistan, who claimed that the state party violated their rights under article 14 (1), (3) (d) and (e) and (5), and article 18 read in conjunction with article 26, of the Covenant. 

The authors were both subjected to search, seizure and arrest by police officers, later having religious texts confiscated. The first author was sentenced to four years imprisonment for the distribution of pornography however claims this charge is fabricated. The second author was also sentenced to four years imprisonment and similarly claims that these charges are fabricated. An appeal for the second author was allowed, however when released he had completed 31 months imprisonment and his conviction was not expunged.

Complaint

The authors claimed that the state party had violated their rights under article 14 (1), (3) (d) and (e) and (5) of the Covenant, as they were denied a fair trial, that is, they were tried in the absence of a lawyer, and their rights to have witnesses cross-examined, and to have their convictions reviewed by a higher court, were violated. They also claimed to be victims of a violation of article 18 in conjunction with article 26 on the basis of the fabrication of the charges - alleging these were created as means to supress their expression of their religion. 

The second author also claimed that the repeated beatings and threats that he was subjected to during his detention constituted a violation of article 7 of the Covenant. 

Merits

Considering the significant consequences for both authors during the sentencing, their imprisonment and the impediments to their religious activities as Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Committee concluded that the authors’ rights under article 14 (1) and (3) (d) and (e) and article 18 of the Covenant have been violated. In the light of this, the Committee decided not to examine the authors’ claims under article 18 read in conjunction with article 26 of the Covenant.

The Committee further noted that on the circumstances raised by the second author relating to repeated beatings and threats revealed a violation of article 7.

Recommendations

Pursuant to article 2(3) (a) of the Covenant, the State party is under an obligation to provide the authors with an effective remedy, including making full reparation to individuals whose Covenant rights have been violated. Accordingly, the State party is obliged to:

  • disclose fully the second author’s criminal files to him;
  • expunge the authors’ criminal records related to the charges under article 164 (2) of the Criminal Code;
  • provide the authors with adequate compensation, including for the legal expenses and fees they have incurred. 
  • take all steps necessary to prevent similar violations from occurring in the future.
  • publish the present views of the Committee in the official language of the state party.

Implementation

The Committee requested that the state party provide an update outlining measures taken to give effect to the Committee's views within 180 days, or prior to 29 September 2019.

Rules of Procedure of the Human Rights Committee

Rules of Procedure of the Human Rights Committee CCPR/C/3/Rev.10

Arabic | Chinese | English | French | Russian | Spanish

CCPR NGO Participation

Documents adopted by the Human Rights Committee (March 2012)

English | French | Spanish | Russian | Handbook

CCPR NHRI Participation

Documents adopted by the Human Rights Committee (November 2012)

English | French | Spanish | Russian | Arabic | Chinese