29 November, 2014 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 - ITALY
Letter from Archbishop of Mosul: Thank you for your aid, supporting the plight of refugees
by Amel NonaThe donations made through the "Adopt a Christian from Mosul" campaign are used to buy food, warm clothes, blankets for refugees and rent houses or caravans given the early onset of winter and. Two women have defended their Christian faith before the Islamist militants who wanted to convert them, despite the threat of death. A refugee among refugees, Msgr. Nona discovers a new way of being a pastor.
IRAQ - ITALY
Almost 700,000 euros raised as the 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' campaign continues
by Bernardo CervelleraA second instalment is sent with funds raised in September. The fate of East-West relations is being played out in the Middle East and Iraq. Pope Francis and the Synod issue an appeal. Governments are lukewarm. Aid is coming from around the world. A new international community is defeating the "globalisation of indifference."
IRAQ-VATICAN
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul": Archbishops’ thanks as first aid arrives
by Amel NonaMsgr. Amel Nona, the Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul, who is also a refugee himself, thanks all the donors to the AsiaNews campaign. The situation is increasingly difficult given the huge number of refugees and the arrival of winter and snow, making outdoor shelters and tents impossible. The crisis, an occasion that activates the faith of Christians.

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.