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9 October 2017

TURKMENISTAN: Compulsory re-registration, continuing state obstructionism

Eighteen months after Turkmenistan's latest Religion Law came into force, only two religious communities – both Protestant - are known to have been re-registered. The government has claimed that many applications by other communities have "errors". And the government has apparently demolished another Ashgabad mosque.

4 October 2017

TURKMENISTAN: Pressure in schools, sackings, haj restrictions

Teachers and police intimidate Jehovah's Witness children in schools, including for refusing to wear the national flag. Muslims and Jehovah's Witnesses have been sacked from state jobs. A student was expelled from university. This year had the smallest government-sponsored haj pilgrimage group since 2009.

3 October 2017

TURKMENISTAN: Raids, fines, torture, detentions, threats

Dashoguz Police threatened to inject a Jehovah's Witness with drugs and send her to a psychiatric hospital. Officers detaining a Jehovah's Witness in Turkmenabad "twisted his hands, strangled him, threw him to the floor, and forcefully shut his mouth to keep him from calling for help".

27 September 2017

TURKMENISTAN: Another disappeared prisoner dies – of torture?

Another of the disappeared Muslim prisoners of conscience from Turkmenabad died in the summer in Ovadan-Depe top security prison. Aziz Gafurov's body, returned to relatives, was "incredibly thin" and "blue from beatings". The authorities disappeared another Muslim prisoner of conscience, Annamurad Atdaev, possibly in Ovadan-Depe.

23 January 2017

TURKMENISTAN: Two prisoner of conscience deaths from torture?

Two Muslims jailed for attending meetings in Turkmenabad died in top-security Ovadan-Depe prison. At least one had been tortured there. Relatives were ordered not to reveal the state of their bodies, but one weighed only 25 kilogrammes. Interior Ministry officials refused to say if their deaths were investigated.

6 January 2017

TURKMENISTAN: Religious freedom survey, January 2017

Freedom of religion and belief, with interlinked freedoms such as expression, association, and assembly, continues to be seriously restricted in Turkmenistan. Forum 18's survey analysis documents the regime's many freedom of religion and belief violations imposed as part of a policy to control society.

6 December 2016

TURKMENISTAN: Questions ignored on tortured prisoners of conscience

Turkmenistan has ignored some questions by the UN Committee Against Torture about tortured Muslim and Jehovah's Witness prisoners of conscience, but provided details of a Sunni Muslim prisoner's three trials. The country also continues to deny the right to conscientious objection to military service.

30 November 2016

TURKMENISTAN: Who is obstructing Russian Orthodox diocese?

"The Orthodox Church wants a diocese and resident bishop in Turkmenistan," an Orthodox told Forum 18. "But it hasn't yet happened." The Deanery Secretary, a Russian priest, was forced to leave. And the Armenian Apostolic Church is still unable to regain a former church.

3 October 2016

TURKMENISTAN: Seven conscientious objectors sentenced in 2016

Courts sentenced five Jehovah's Witness conscientious objectors in 2016 to two-year suspended prison terms for refusing compulsory military service on grounds of conscience. A sixth received an 18-month suspended sentence and a seventh a one-year corrective labour sentence. Turkmenistan ignored OSCE calls for the new Constitution to recognise conscientious objection.

26 September 2016

TURKMENISTAN: Imprisoned Muslim leader – alive or dead?

Bahram Saparov led a Hanafi Sunni Muslim community in Turkmenabad. He and about 20 members of his group were given long prison sentences in May 2013. He and at least two others were transferred to the top-security Ovadan-Depe prison, where torture is frequent and prisoners are held incommunicado.

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