Asia, Europe, News Watch, Side Feature

Turkmen Authorities Pursue Critics of the Regime

Law enforcement agencies of Turkmenistan are actively looking for a resident of Ashgabat, who told the Memorial Human Rights Center in detail about corruption, abuse and tortures in Turkmen prisons. Memorial published this information on its website in December 2020 and February 2021, the third article is being prepared for the publication.

According to the woman’s explanations, on February 24, three of the woman’s relatives were summoned to the police station, where they were questioned about her and her husband. The police officer allegedly demanded: “Calm her down, let her shut up. If she will mention the names of the Interior Ministry officers elsewhere, she will rot in prison”. According to the representative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Turkmenistan, the fabricated materials of the criminal case are ready to accuse the former prisoner of involvement in drug trafficking and other crimes. “Let her not hope, human rights activists will not help her”, – the security officials told her through her relatives.

Apparently, the Turkmen authorities have already fabricated and sent to Russia inquiries about the woman’s involvement in crimes, because since last week the Russian police and the FSB began interrogating her acquaintances in Moscow for her contacts and whereabouts.

Human rights activists point out that the Turkmen authorities are trying to prevent new revelations, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Turkmenistan is especially active, high-ranking officials of which are involved in the abuses described by the narrator in places of detention.

It should also be noted that the exact same scheme of intimidating dissidents through their relatives and friends is practiced throughout all the Central Asian region with only a few differences. In Tajikistan, for example, law enforcement officials also periodically visit relatives and friends of Tajik activists outside the country who criticize the Rakhmon regime. As a rule, Tajik security officials threaten their relatives with various consequences or summon them for interrogations, where they exert psychological pressure.

Recall that Turkmenistan is and remains one of the most closed countries in Central Asia, including media sphere, state media and television and radio channels every day talk only about the allegedly achieved great successes of the regime and promote the personality cult of Berdymukhamedov. Only a few independent media outlets with their own sources of information report on the true situation in the country and publish articles criticizing the tyrannical government of Turkmenistan.

Written for the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir by
Muhammad Mansour