Please Write a Letter To Caitanya Rupini In Turkmenistan
Posted June 10, 2006
As I hope you are aware, Her Grace Caitanya Rupini devi dasi of Turkmenistan (legal name: Cheper Annaniyazova) was convicted by a Turkmen court of crimes both specified (crossing the border illegally) and unspecified and sentenced to 7 years of imprisonment in a labor camp in Northern Turkmenistan. The courts refusal to acknowledge obviously exculpatory evidence or reveal the nature of some of the charges against her support the generally held belief that her prosecution and conviction were politically motivated; the Turkmen government is not noted for it's tolerance of religious diversity.
The northern areas of Turkmenistan are closed border zones: it is very difficult even for her family members to visit her. Anyone wanting to visit needs a special permit that is not easily obtained.
Human Rights organizations have characterized the conditions at the labor camp as being exceptionally miserable.
Since she is a prisoner of conscience we ordinarily we would have initiated a letter writing campaign to petition for her release and to try to engage other governments and non-government organizations to pressure the Turkmen government on her behalf. Amnesty International, The United Nations Human Rights Council, and The United States State Department are all aware of her case.
However, we have been specifically requested by Caitanya Rupini Prabhu and those closest to her not to engage in such a campaign for the time being. Every year just after Ramadan (around September/ October) the President of Turkmenistan, in a display of magnanimity, bestows amnesties on groups of prisoners. There is the hope that Caitanya Rupini will be the recipient of such an amnesty and that her sentence will be reduced accordingly. International pressure on the Turkmen government would apparently be counter-productive to quiet efforts being made to secure her inclusion in such an amnesty.
While we wait and pray for her early release there is a very fine service that we can do for Caitanya Rupini: we can give her our association by writing to her directly. I asked the devotees closest to the situation if we could do this. Here is the affirmative reply I received:
"Dear Hari-kirtana prabhu, ...I am glad to inform you that I received the positive answer to your question about sending by devotees their letters directly to Caitanya Rupini by post. BUT ONE BIG REQUEST: If devotees want Caitanya Rupini to receive their letters then do not write anything about the politics and do not ask any information from her. I think that the devotees' letters full of love to God will inspire her to do her best in service to her Guru Maharaja. Caitanya Rupini is a very good devotee. She had an opportunity to stay in Kazakhstan and go on her devotional service there, but she voluntary arrived to Turkmenistan. I was very lucky to receive darshan of her Guru Maharaja His Holiness BB Govinda Swami at recent Gaura Purnima festival in Mayapur. When he has known that I was from Turkmenistan his first question was: How is Caitanya Rupini? And then during about of 15 minutes He glorified Caitanya Rupini. What highest level of belief and love to God he has if his disciples in Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan show such heroic acts!? Caitanya Rupini does not know English but she good understands Russian language. Caitanya Rupini and all Turkmen devotees are very grateful to the devotees in New York and around the world for their anxiety and prayers. YOUR SINCERE PRAYERS IS THE REAL HELP AND WEALTHY FOR US. I thank you very much for your clear understanding the situation of devotees in Turkmenistan. Hare Krishna."
So, I would like to ask all of you to please write a letter to Caitanya Rupini that is filled with Krishna katha, your realizations, favorite verses and purports, stories about Srila Prabhupada, and all things glorifying the Supreme Lord and His devotees that will inspire her to persevere in her difficult service. Please abide by the very important request that your letter asks her nothing about her situation and makes no comment whatsoever about the President or government of Turkmenistan or the nature of her case. The importance of this cannot be overstated. You can send your letters to her at this address:
Zenskaya Kolloniya DZ-K/8
The postage for a 1-ounce letter from the United States to Turkmenistan is $0.84. For postage rates from other countries, please consult your local postal service.
PLEASE NOTE: Caitanya Rupini will only be able to read your letter if it is written in Russian (or Turkmen!). If you want to write to her and are writing in English but do not have the means to get your letter translated from English to Russian, you can send it to me and I will arrange for the translation and send both your original English version and the Russian translation. You can send your letters to me at email@example.com.
If you are able to translate from English to Russian and are willing to help me in this service, your participation would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you very much. Hare Krishna.