“If you keep your head down, no one will bother you.” Life in Turkmenistan’s prisons
“I repent of my actions, and swear that if I am released I will never break the law again.”
All the prisoners in AH-K/6 strict regime camp (pictured) in the southern city of Tejen have been told to write pretty much carbon copies of this letter.
Observers in the country cannot recall anything similar for at least four years. The reasons for the letters are a matter of speculation. Sources told
No similar reports have come in yet from other places of detention.
“We hope that this time there will be a major
“When Western diplomats visited the colony, we saw their visit as a positive sign,” the source said. “We thought that if they’ve allowed in foreigners, they must realize that the diplomats will keep an eye on the institution in future too.”
The diplomats’ visit on November 6 last year was probably a box-ticking exercise. They were not allowed inside to look at the barracks and other premises in the colony. They just walked around the residential zone, and that was the end of the visit. The diplomats did not even try to speak to the prisoners. Anyway, before the visitors arrived the prisoners had been told to speak amongst themselves only in Turkmen and pretend not to understand Russian.
Turkmen.news has often written about the condition of Turkmen prisons in general and the Tejen strict regime camp in particular. Conditions improve after every publication, sources said, although the problems remain. And one of those is corruption, which permeates the entire management hierarchy at the camp, from the warders to the head of the prison.
Meanwhile, two cases of suicide occurred in this camp in the past month: one prisoner hanged himself, and the other cut his veins. The reasons for the suicide have not been reported.
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