26 January, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 12/10/2004
UZBEKISTAN – HUMAN RIGHTS
Life is God's gift, says Orthodox Christian woman fighting the death penalty

Tashkent (AsiaNews) - "The death penalty creates evil and violates the most important and inalienable human right: the right to life", this according to Tamara Chikunova, an Uzbek Orthodox Christian, founder of 'Mothers against the Death Penalty and Torture', an association working for the abolition of the death penalty in Uzbekistan.

Her only son, 29-year-old Dimitrij, was executed by a firing squad on July 20, 2000. Since then she has been working on behalf of inmates and prisoners on death row who claim to have been wrongfully convicted. In four years, she has been able to save 19 'children of God' as she likes to call them.

"I am a believer," Tamara says. "I am an Orthodox Christian and I help those who are on death row because life is God's most important gift to us. The state has no right to decide who lies and who dies; only God can."

In her attempts to free her son Dimitrij, she received threats from the authorities. "My son gave his life to save mine. He confessed to the murder he was charged with to prevent them from killing me," she said. "For this reason, I help other young people to keep Dimitrij's memory alive".

'Mothers against the Death Penalty and Torture' has about a hundred members and volunteers from all over Uzbekistan. The association has a close relationship with international organisations like the Community of Sant'Egidio and Amnesty International.

"We have been fighting for the past four years to get a moratorium on all executions," Tamara said. "On December 2 past, for the first time, the president of Uzbekistan expressed his support for the abolition of the death penalty and an end to executions". According to her, the president's statement is the result of international pressure that her association was able to solicit.

The situation of death row inmates in Uzbekistan is terrible. "Relatives can't visit prisoners who live in cells waiting for the time of their execution. Since time and date are kept secret neither they nor their relatives know when it is going to happen", she said. "Once prisoners are executed their bodies are not returned to their families. And the location of their burial is kept secret—which is in and of itself a form of torture for both prisoners and families—so that relatives do not launch any inquiry about possible torture in prison."

Tamara knows this all too well. On what became her last visit to her son she was talking to the guards when she hears shots fired . . . shots fired at her son. Still, her son's death has become a motive for her and others to act and hope. (PF)

 


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
08/23/2005 CHINA
China to host UN torture envoy in 2005
11/30/2004 SOUTH KOREA
Religious leaders call for the abolition of the death penalty
05/14/2007 UZBEKISTAN
Prison for clerics but some in the West prefer to think about oil
04/06/2005 iran
Iran, a Christian convert to face death penalty for apostasy
02/21/2005 japan
Support for death penalty at record high among Japanese

Editor's choices
IRAQ
The children of Mosul and the future: the "five-star" refugee camp
by Bernardo CervelleraIn the garden of the parish of Mar Elia beside the tents there are containers that serve as classrooms for the children and as a library. Another serves as a room for sewing. A children's choir. Fr. Douglas: "Taking care of refugees does not just mean thinking about eating, drinking, medicines, injections, vaccinations ... The displaced persons need to do something and to cultivate hope."
IRAQ
Way of the Cross: the refugees from Mosul beyond the emergency
by Bernardo CervelleraThere are at least half a million people who have taken refuge in Kurdistan to flee from ISIS. In the Shlama Mall at Erbil: 350 people living in the skeleton of a building under construction, with draped sheets and blankets serving as walls. The ordination of a young man, also a refugee, shows that with the flight, there is something that has not been destroyed: the faith, the traditions, the priesthood.
IRAQ - VATICAN
As 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' continues, Mosul bishop notes that Jesus is born amid refugee containers
by Amel NonaPersecuted by the Islamic state, refugees have lost everything: belongings, home, jobs, school, and their future. Yet, their faith and mission remain strong. For them, almost 900,000 euros have been raised and sent. Pope Francis sends a message of closeness. The campaign continues according to the Patriarch of Baghdad's proposal of fasting and moderation at Christmas and New Year, with the money saved offered to the Christians of Mosul.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.