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Home World News Washington Post World News Rights group to Croatia: release Pussy Riot member now

Rights group to Croatia: release Pussy Riot member now

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ZAGREB, Croatia — Amnesty International on Wednesday urged Croatia to halt extradition proceedings to Turkmenistan and immediately release a detained member of a Russian music band known for vehemently opposing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s policies.

Lawyers for the rights group and the band member said Croatia has detained Aysoltan Niyazov under a 2002 Interpol warrant issued by Turkmenistan for alleged embezzlement. Neighboring Slovenia had previously arrested Niyazov, but released her immediately.

The Russian band is touring Europe to protest against the war in Ukraine and Putin’s policies. The band gained international fame after the members were imprisoned in Russia for their activism.

“Croatian authorities are aware that her activism puts Aysoltan Niyazov at high risk of serious abuse, including torture and other ill-treatment, if she is extradited to Turkmenistan,” said Julia Hall, Amnesty International’s deputy director for Europe. “Turkmenistan is not a safe country for her or any human rights defender.”

Niyazov’s lawyer, Lina Budak, told local Croatian media that authorities have launched a review procedure for possible extradition to Turkmenistan.

Croatian police have said they were obliged to respond to an pending international arrest warrant against Niyazov.

Amnesty International said Interpol’s warrants have been “notoriously abused by a number of authoritarian regimes and countries with horrific human rights records to try and silence activists and those speaking out about human rights abuses.”

“Croatia should not be complicit in such practices,” the group’s statement said. “Authorities in Zagreb must reject Turkmenistan’s request for the extradition of Aysoltan Niyazov and release her immediately.”



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