Student Omruzak Umarkuliev is Flying to Turkmenistan. Lured There On False Pretences, He’s Been Sentenced to a Lengthy Prison Term

On the right of the picture is Omruzak Umarkuliev, a student from Turkmenistan studying in Turkey, where he created an informal association of Turkmen students.

On February 14, 2018 the Turkmen consul in Ankara, Murad Akmamedov, invited the young activist to visit Ashgabat to take part in a meeting on the then upcoming parliamentary elections. The diplomat promised that Turkmenistan’s Central Election Commission would pay his return travel expenses.

They did buy a return ticket for the student for February 22, but at Ashgabat airport the migration service prevented him from boarding the flight and gave no reason. All his subsequent attempts to leave the country also failed.

One day a major from the Lebap regional draft board rang and asked if he was about to do his military service, even though in January Omruzak had submitted to the board a confirmation document from his place of study.

By the law, students can postpone their service if they are studying for their first degree.

Contact with Omruzak Umarkuliev was lost from the end of March, Radio Azatlyk reported. In June it emerged that he had supposedly been sentenced to 20 years. It’s not known when the trial took place and on what charges the young man received such a long prison sentence. 

In the first half of May Omruzak Umarkuliev’s 50-year-old father, Shirinbay, died of a heart attack.

On the left of the photograph is Azat Jepparov. On social media he describes himself as a representative of Turkmen students in the consulate of Turkmenistan. According to the source who published the photo, Azat Jepparov passes himself off as an Istanbul university student, while in fact he is closely connected to Turkmenistan’s Ministry of National Security.