FREE GASPAR MATALAEV – PETITION FOR Human Rights Activist Gaspar Matalaev was Arrested in Turkmenistan, Central Asia. is now Freedom United Learn More.
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Dear Annamaria,

On October 4, 2016, human rights activist Gaspar Matalaev was arrested in Turkmenistan, Central Asia. He has reportedly been subjected to torture by electric current to force him to confess to false charges of minor fraud.[1] Gaspar’s family was promised time and again that he’d be released, but this never happened.

Sign our petition calling on the Turkmen Government to immediately release Gaspar.

Gaspar is a prominent human rights activist in Turkmenistan, where he has been monitoring the state-orchestrated forced labor system in the country’s cotton fields. His work has helped draw attention to the Turkmen Government’s annual mobilization of tens of thousands of citizens, including children, forced to pick cotton under threat of punishment.

Gaspar’s arrest came two days after he published a report on the extensive use of forced labor and child labor in the 2016 cotton harvest and one day after the Minister of National Security was severely reprimanded by the Turkmen President at a State Security Council meeting for not properly repressing activism in the country.[2] It is clear Gaspar’s arrest was politically motivated. 

Please sign our petition to demand the Turkmenistan Government immediately release Gaspar and allow him to continue his work in safety.

It is now up to the international community to speak out and demand action on behalf of courageous monitors like Gaspar who put themselves at risk to help others. 

In solidarity,

Zoe, Joanna, Vittorio and the Freedom United Team


03.27.17 Meet the Men and Women of the 2017 Innocence Network Conference

Albert Woodfox, who unjustly spent 43 years in solitary confinement, at the 2017 Innocence Network Conference in San Diego, CA. Photo by Erin G. Wesley.

By Alicia Maule

Fifteen years later The Innocence Network Conference returned to San Diego, California, where it was once held with just about 200 people.

“I can’t believe how much it’s grown,” said Betty Anne Waters, sister of the late exoneree Kenny Waters and subject of Tony Goldwyn’s film Conviction, who attended the conference in 2002.

“Back then it was just a few of us in one room and now there’s so many more people to help the wrongly convicted,” she said in amazement.

Related: Highlights from Valerie Jarrett’s Keynote at #InConf2017

This year Waters was one of 750 participants who gathered in California to honor newly freed people, learn about the latest developments in freeing the wrongly convicted and network with the now 69 Innocence Network organizations (staff from 59 projects attended) around the world. The growth of the Innocence Network has helped to expand the number of people who are freed each year. Having the network in nearly every state in the country and across the globe also helps us to be more collectively efficient and strategic in the cases and policy reforms that we work to advance. Check out the Innocence Network map to learn more about the organization in your area.

One hundred and sixty-six people were exonerated in 2016, breaking a record. This was similarly reflected in a conference record-turnout of nearly 170 exonerees in attendance. New programming included expressive art, meditation sessions and the recording of an episode of the Actual Innocence podcast.

Take a look at several phenomenal portraits, by Erin G. Wesley, and stories of survivors of wrongful conviction from the weekend.

Albert Woodfox

(Pictured above): “If I stand for nothing else, it’s the indomitable strength of the human spirit,” Albert Woodfox told the conference crowd on Friday, March 25. Woodfox, who spent 43 years in a solitary confinement cell at Angola Prison, in the words of Innocence Project Senior Staff Attorney Nina Morrison, “brought us to tears and our feet.” Woodfox was represented by George Kendall and Carine Williams, and later Robert McDuff and Billy Sothern in retrial.

Sunny Jacobs

Sonia ‘Sunny’ Jacobs, age 64, was sentenced to death at the age of 28 for the murder of two police officers in Florida. Jacobs was exonerated with the help of the Center on Wrongful Convictions in 1992 after spending 17 years in prison, a number of them on death row. Her story, along with those of five other wrongfully convicted death row inmates, was featured in the play The Exonerated. In 2001, she married Peter Pringle from Ireland who also survived death row for a crime he didn’t commit. Together they live on a farm in west Ireland where they host other exonerees. Learn more about Sunny and Peter.

James Curtis Giles

In 1983, James Curtis Giles was wrongfully convicted of a brutal rape in Dallas, Texas. It would take 25 years to prove his innocence, but DNA testing finally led to his exoneration in 2007. He had served 10 years in prison and 14 years as a registered sex offender on parole for a crime he didn’t commit.

“I nominate him to be the Mayor of Lukfin, Texas,” said Vanessa Potkin, his Innocence Project attorney and director of post-conviction litigation.

Floyd Bledsoe


Floyd Bledsoe, represented by the Midwest Innocence Project, was exonerated in 2015 after 15 years in prison for a murder his brother committed. Since his release, Bledsoe has been a fierce advocate for mandatory recording of interrogations among other reforms in Kansas.

Andre Hatchett

Andre Hatchett spent half of his life in prison for a murder he did not commit largely due to inadequate defense, a single unreliable witness and exculpatory evidence that was not disclosed to the defense. In March 2016, Andre became the 19th person to be exonerated under the late Brooklyn D.A. Ken Thompson’s Conviction Review Unit.

Orlando Boquete

Orlando Boquete had arrived to the United States from Cuba and was almost immediately wrongfully convicted of sexual battery and burglary in 1982. Orlando’s conviction was overturned on May 23, 2006, but because he had escaped from custody in 1983 for 10 years, and again in 1995 for one year, the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency detained his release until August 22, 2006. Related: Orlando completes the Brooklyn half marathon

Anthony Wright

In 1993, Anthony Wright narrowly escaped the death penalty by a 7 to 5 jury vote for fatal crimes against an elderly woman he did not commit. It took 25 years, several DNA tests, a conviction reversal and retrial to exonerate Anthony. Related: My first Thanksgiving home


Peter Pringle

Peter Pringle at the Network Conference in San Diego, CA. Photo by Erin G. Wesley.

Like his wife Sunny (above), Peter was also wrongly convicted of murdering two police officers but in Ireland not Florida. Days before Peter was sentenced to be hanged, the President of Ireland commuted his sentence. From that point on, Peter learned the law, successfully represented himself, and his conviction was overturned. Learn more.

Follow us on Instagram for the latest portraits in the series.

Join us in Memphis, Tennessee for the 2018 Innocence Network Conference.

The Opinion Pages | Editorial Mental Illness, Untreated Behind Bars By THE EDITORIAL BOAR D FEB. 27, 2017

The Opinion Pages | Editorial

Mental Illness, Untreated Behind Bars


From left, Sheriff Richard Stanek, of Hennepin County, Minn., Sheriff Danny Glick, of Laramie County, Wyo., and Sheriff John Layton, of Marion County, Ind., at a meeting with President Trump at the White House. Credit Pool photo by Andrew Harrer

President Trump has talked quite a bit about cracking down on a nonexistent crime wave. Rarely does he talk about the different kinds of support law enforcement needs or what actually keeps communities safe…..

Robert Jones exonerated on his 44th birthday – : INNOCENCE PROJECT

Robert Jones is pictured (right) following his exoneration with Innocence Project New Orleans Deputy Director Richard Davis on Jan. 26, 2017. Photo: Innocence Project New Orleans.

    Robert Jones exonerated on his 44th birthday 

    In 1992, Robert Jones was convicted of robbing, kidnapping and raping a woman in Orleans Parish and then soon after pleaded guilty to a pair of other crimes, one of which included killing a tourist in New Orleans’ French Quarter. On his 44th birthday, Jones was exonerated of those crimes after the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office announced that it would not retry him for the 1992 crimes and vacated the other charges to which he’d falsely pleaded guilty. Jones was represented by the New Orleans Innocence Project with Co-Counsel from Innocence Project’s Barry Scheck and Nina Morrison. Jones has an Amazon Wish List for those willing to contribute. More


                                    WHICH PART OF           “THOU SHALT NOT KILL” …


                             WHICH PART OF

                      “THOU SHALT NOT KILL”

                     DIDN´T YOU UNDERSTAND?!

                                                                   – GOD

    “A system that puts that much pressure on people to plead guilty is a problem.” My Blog in Case of Innocence

    Midwest Innocence@The_MIP 12m12 minutes ago

    Have you pleaded guilty to a crime you didn’t commit? You’re not alone. Get involved: GuiltyPleaProblem.Org #GuiltyPleaProblem

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    “A system that puts that much pressure on people to plead guilty is a problem.” on :