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Translator arrested for translating human rights material
Thread poster: Percy Balemans

Percy Balemans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:14
English to Dutch
+ ...
Apr 16, 2007

This isn't exactly the "lighter side" of translation, but since this isn't really appropriate for any of the other forums either, I'll just put it here.

I found this article today, about a translator arrested for translating human rights material. Isn't it shocking that some of our colleagues are being arrested simply for doing their job?

Umida Niyazova was arrested in late January by Uzbek authorities as she returned to her country from neighboring Kyrgyzstan. After more than two months in detention, she was formally charged with illegally crossing the border and “creating or distributing materials threatening public security and order using financial resources provided by religious organizations [and] foreign governments, organizations, and citizens.”

A fresh-faced 32-year-old and mother to a 2-year-old son, Niyazova could be considered a state security threat only by a regime as paranoid as Uzbekistan’s. Back when Uzbekistan was courting Western democracies and pretended to care about improving its human rights record, Niyazova began working for international democracy and human rights organizations, including Freedom House, that set up shop in the country.

At the time of her arrest, Niyazova was a member of the popular new Uzbek human rights group Veritas and employed as a translator for Human Rights Watch. For daring to believe that human beings have the right to live in a country free from torture and arbitrary arrest, she now sits in detention in Tashtyurma, the Tashkent pre-trial detention facility notorious for its ill treatment and torture of detainees, and awaits trial on charges that may land her up to 15 years in prison.


You can read the full article here (click on the article "The Crackdown Continues").

[Bijgewerkt op 2007-04-16 14:46]


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Nicholas Ferreira  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
Humbling perspective... Apr 16, 2007

I think this will make me think twice before complaining about difficulties I have as a translator. Definitely puts things into perspective.

Thanks for sharing this with us.


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Melzie
Local time: 17:14
French to English
+ ...
freedom of speech Apr 16, 2007

We have many brave peers both in translating and interpreting. Who face danger, risk of imprisonment and even death communicating not only their but also others' beliefs. Who are on the front line and who often get the brunt of delivering a message someone doesn't want to hear.
Hats off to the members of our profession who defend liberty!


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Nicolas Coyer  Identity Verified
Colombia
Local time: 10:14
Spanish to French
+ ...
Thanks for sharing this, Percy Apr 16, 2007

Do you know if there is a way for us as peers to get directly involved in some kind of action to push for her release or at least put pressure on the uzbek government?

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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:14
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Humbling indeed! Apr 16, 2007

Nicholas Ferreira wrote:

I think this will make me think twice before complaining about difficulties I have as a translator. Definitely puts things into perspective.

Thanks for sharing this with us.


What a terrifying story! We should be grateful that we can express ourselves freely - long may our freedom last.
George Orwell lives!
Kind regards,
Jenny.


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Clare Barnes  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 17:14
Swedish to English
+ ...
Amnesty Apr 16, 2007

It would be interesting to know if she's on Amnesty's prisoner of conscience list. Their letter writing campaigns work - and there's no reason for us not to organise something similar or encourage more media attention about it ourselves. Journalists are excellent at doing this among for their profession - why shouldn't we all have a go. The sorry truth is she will not be the only translator/interpreter imprisoned for doing her job.

I will give this a bit more thought over the evening... in a rush now...


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Percy Balemans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:14
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I'll check with Amnesty Apr 16, 2007

Clare Barnes wrote:

It would be interesting to know if she's on Amnesty's prisoner of conscience list. Their letter writing campaigns work - and there's no reason for us not to organise something similar or encourage more media attention about it ourselves. Journalists are excellent at doing this among for their profession - why shouldn't we all have a go. The sorry truth is she will not be the only translator/interpreter imprisoned for doing her job.


I already checked Amnesty's website, but she's not listed there. A letter writing campaign sounds like a good idea; like you said, Amnesty uses them all the time and they tend to work.

I'll see if I can contact someone at Amnesty to give us advice on who to write etc.


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Katrin Lueke  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:14
Member (2006)
English to German
Email Apr 16, 2007

Hi all,

I have just sent an email to the German bureau of Amnesty International.

Hopefully they respond soon.
I will let you know then.

Best regards,
Katrin


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Clare Barnes  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 17:14
Swedish to English
+ ...
Human Rights Watch Apr 16, 2007

HRW's website has this article about her:
http://hrw.org/english/docs/2007/03/29/uzbeki15677.htm
I will contact HRW and see if they can provide any input/constructive advice.


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Cristina Santos  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:14
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Let's do something about it Apr 16, 2007

A letter writing campaign is a great idea, I would like to participate.
Let me know if I can help at all.
Cristina


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Dr. Jason Faulkner  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:14
Member (2006)
Spanish to English
A mobilization?!?! Apr 16, 2007

Seems we can leverage this 40,000+ community for something important.

It is better to live on your feet than to die on your knees!

(yeah, that's what I meant. . . )


SaludoZ!

Jason


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Elizabeth Adams  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:14
Member (2002)
Russian to English
+ ...
Clare and Katrin, Apr 16, 2007

Please let us know what you find out.
Thanks,
Elizabeth


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Clare Barnes  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 17:14
Swedish to English
+ ...
Will do! Apr 16, 2007

I checked HRW's website and they also advocate letter writing and e-mails to the relevant parties, but I'll let you know once I get more detailed information (I e-mailed the UK office this evening, but I'll give them a ring if I don't get a reply in the next day or so).

Oh - and is there a better forum we can move this to???? Or even - can we do the equivalent of Translators4kids (or even http://www.cpj.org/ on a smaller scale) and have a separate forum for issues like this? It wouldn't require too much work - a forum where people can post human rights cases relating to translators/interpreters and those who are interested can use the forum to gather the information about who to write to... non-politically of course, I'm thinking along the same sort of lines as Amnesty here...

Good night all! Sorry if I rambled on...

[Edited at 2007-04-16 20:23]


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:14
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
I'd gladly join a campaign Apr 16, 2007

Cristina Santos wrote:

A letter writing campaign is a great idea, I would like to participate.
Let me know if I can help at all.
Cristina


I'd be glad to join a letter-writing or other campaign to get her released. I'm also a member of Amnesty International. Please let me know what I can do.
Jenny.


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Percy Balemans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:14
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Will let you know what Amnesty says Apr 16, 2007

I've emailed my contact at Amnesty Netherlands and let you know as soon as I get a reply.

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