Still No News of Jailed Turkmen Major as Family Mark His 50th Birthday
Turkmenistan’s state-owned media have published the second annual report by the ombudswoman, Yazdursun Gurbannazarova, this time for 2018. Although the report repeats at length the laws and other legal acts adopted by Turkmenistan, and lists participation in various meetings, seminars, and fact-finding trips, it nevertheless contains some significant facts and figures; for example:
The section of the report “Requests and Recommendations of the Ombudswoman” cites specific examples of residents’ complaints: against the country’s central bank for red tape in issuing Visa cards; and against the migration service for delays in issuing passports. One of the district courts in Ashgabat didn’t bother to establish fully the identity of a woman whom they sentenced initially (in 2009) to one year’s detention for prostitution, then fined for the same activity in 2017. The woman had in fact given a false name and the person whose name she gave had to pay the fine. In the end, the administrative case was closed against the person the woman claimed to be.
In conclusion, the ombudswoman suggests improving the level of knowledge and awareness of the population about defending their rights, having explored the possibility of introducing a single state program on the issue.
For its part, turkmen.news calls on the ombudswoman to visit other correctional facilities in Turkmenistan, in particular strict regime colony LB-K/11 and ordinary regime LB-K/12, pre-trial detention facility LB-D/9 (also known as Abdy-Shukur prison), special regime colony AH-K/3, and prison AH-T/2 (Ovadan-Depe). According to turkmen.news’ information, the conditions of detention, food, and medical treatment in all these institutions are far from what’s required. Corruption is rampant there, while employees often exceed their authority, illegally making the detention regime more severe for individual inmates, especially ethnic minorities.
We will soon continue our series of publications on Turkmen prisons, in fact looking at pre-trial detention facility LB-D/9, and AH-T/2 prison.
Unfortunately, the report does not say a word about political prisoners who disappeared in the prison system back in the time of Turkmenistan’s first president, Saparmurat Niyazov. This is the information that people are waiting for in many countries around the world. And who is best placed to show resolve and disclose the whole truth in line with their legal powers if not Turkmenistan’s Commissioner for Human Rights?
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