Several days ago it was announced that 24 members of the European Parliament had submitted a letter to the Embassy of Turkmenistan calling for the release from imprisonment of Gulgeldy Annaniyazov, Maksat Kakabaev and Murad Ovezov, who are considered to be prisoners of conscience.
In February 2011 we reported that Turkmen singers M. Kakabaev and M. Ovezov had been arrested. At that time, according to our sources, they were sentenced to 2 years in prison.
Since then we have failed to get any reliable information about the fate of these young people. Only over the past two or three weeks we managed to collect some information.
Murad Ovezov has seven brothers, all of whom reside in the Mary velayat. His relatives have tried to resolve the question of his release but to no avail.
As regards Maksat Kakabaev (his stage name is Maro), who is serving his sentence in the colony MRK/16 (formerly referred to as ITK-7) in Bairamali. There are standard regime and maximum security cells in this penitential facility. According to one source he was convicted for seven years, whereas another source says it is for nine years, but it is most probable that M. Kakabaev is serving his sentence in the maximum security division.
According to his friends, M. Kakabaev is a very gifted person and has always been prolific in his creative ideas, staged and shot musical video clips, wrote and performed songs. Witnesses claim that after two years in custody the popular singer does not look good. He is pessimistic and has no hopes of being released soon.
The Turkmen authorities are obliged to consider the opinion expressed by the international community and release from imprisonment all prisoners of conscience who are being kept in custody.