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The right to change one’s belief or religion
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TURKMENISTAN: Tenth jailed conscientious objector in 2018

Turkmenistan rejected a call at the UN Human Rights Council UPR to introduce an alternative to compulsory military service. The rejection came weeks after another conscientious objector, 18-year-old Serdar Atayev, was jailed for one year. Ten are known to have been jailed in 2018.

TURKMENISTAN: Ninth jailed conscientious objector in 2018

With a third jailing in August, of 18-year-old Sokhbet Agamyradov, nine conscientious objectors are known to have been jailed in 2018. Forum 18 could not reach Human Rights Ombudsperson Yazdursun Gurbannazarova to ask why men unable to perform military service on grounds of conscience cannot do alternative service.

TURKMENISTAN: Now eight jailed conscientious objectors

With two jailings in August, eight conscientious objectors aged 18 to 24 are now serving labour camp terms of one to two years. Forum 18 could not reach Human Rights Ombudsperson Yazdursun Gurbannazarova to ask why young men are jailed for refusing military service on grounds of conscience.

TURKMENISTAN: Conscientious objector's maximum two-year jail term

Turkmenbashi City Court jailed 19-year-old Jehovah's Witness conscientious objector Mekan Annayev for the maximum two years for refusing compulsory military service on grounds of conscience. Five others have already been jailed in 2018, one in an apparent show trial. Two more young men face trial in August.

TURKMENISTAN: Three more conscientious objectors jailed

Three Jehovah's Witnesses were jailed in July for one year each for refusing compulsory military service on grounds of religious conscience. They are among at least five conscientious objectors jailed so far in 2018, all of them Jehovah's Witnesses. Prosecutor's Offices are still investigating others.

TURKMENISTAN: Appeals against 12-year jail terms fail

Five Muslims who met to study the works of theologian Said Nursi have failed to overturn their 12-year jail terms at Turkmenistan's Supreme Court. Four of the five are in the top-security prison at Ovadan-Depe, where prisoners have suffered torture and death from abuse or neglect.

TURKMENISTAN: Last-ditch appeal against 12-year jail terms

On 11 July, Turkmenistan's Supreme Court is reportedly due to hear the appeal by five men jailed in August 2017 for 12 years each. The men were punished for meeting to study their faith using the works of theologian Said Nursi, the first such known prosecution in Turkmenistan.

TURKMENISTAN: Jailings of conscientious objectors resume

Two conscientious objectors, both Jehovah's Witnesses, were jailed for one year in January. One had just completed a corrective labour sentence. These are the first jailings of conscientious objectors since 2014. No prisoners of conscience are known to have been freed under the Novruz amnesty.

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.

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.

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".

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.