Rights Activist in Critical Condition in Turkmen Prison
Tirkish Tyrmyev, former commander of Turkmenistan border troops, head of the Mary office of the National Security Committee (NSC), passed away earlier this year. On April 1, 2002, Saparmurat Niyazov dismissed the general “for major shortcomings in performance and violation of the current law”.
Subsequently, Tyrmyev was arrested on charges of grievous and extremely grievous crimes as part of the case against a group of NSC officers including its chief Muhammet Nazarov. On May 7, 2002, Tyrmyev was sentenced to 10 years. This was the last time his family saw him alive.
After the general’s death became public knowledge, ATN received numerous testimonies from people who knew him and worked with him at different times and in different positions. People generally described Tirkish Tyrmyev as a decent person.
“When we saw him on television in 2002, we were shocked,” former colleagues wrote. “The general himself was convinced that there had been a mistake. At that time, people in the NSC felt that a “great purge» was coming, and many started to pack and leave the country. He was also warned about it:
Tirkish, they said, take your family and leave. But he wouldn’t, saying that he was innocent,and that Niyazov would get to the bottom of it. The general believed that even if he ended up in prison, they would not give him more than a year or two. He trusted Niyazov.»
Tyrmyev was respected in Afghanistan, as he had worked there for a while, supervising the railway at the station of Turgundi. The Afghans always turned to him for help, and he never declined: he would bring pregnant women to give birth in Kushka, because they had no conditions for it on the other side of the border; he would bring medicines from Turkmenistan for children and the elderly.
“When people learned that Tyrmyev was being summoned to work in Ashgabat, almost the entire district came to see him off, all of the local elites showed up,” a source said.
Tyrmyev’s colleagues in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) also respected him. In the pictures received by ATN, Tyrmyev is photographed together with such people as Vladimir Putin, who was the FSB chief at the time, Rustam Inoyatov, head of the Uzbek special service from 1995 to date, Nurtay Abykayev who headed the NSC in Kazakhstan in different years since the republic became independent. The photos were taken approximately in the second half of 1998 or the first half of 1999 in Kyrgyzstan, at the CIS special services meeting.
On January 13, 2017, his body was handed over to his family. After the news of him passing away hit the Internet, the authorities put pressure on his relatives in Turkmenistan to stop the publicity around Tyrmyev’s death. It appears that the family had to comply, as the information about Tyrmyev’s death disappeared shortly after.
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