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Statement on Turkmenistan:

21 Novem­ber 2021

On 22 Novem­ber 2021 European Uni­on (EU) will hold a meet­ing with the Cent­ral Asi­an for­eign min­is­ters in Dush­anbe, Tajikistan headed by the EU’s High Rep­res­ent­at­ive for For­eign Affairs and Secur­ity Policy, Joseph Bor­rell. We urge the EU to use this plat­form and press the Turk­men gov­ern­ment to release all polit­ic­al pris­on­ers placed in harshest pris­on con­di­tions, held incom­mu­nic­ado for years and facing daily tor­ture, star­va­tion, without access to med­ic­al help.

Their names are Azat Isakov (act­iv­ist of Turk­meni­aUnite Group — vic­tim of enforced dis­ap­pear­ance con­duc­ted by Turk­men author­it­ies in cooper­a­tion with Rus­si­an FSB and police, for prac­ti­cing his right to free­dom of speech on You­tube and pub­licly cri­ti­ciz­ing Turk­men author­it­ies), Nurgeldi Halykov(student, who sent a pic­ture of WHO del­eg­a­tion to the Turk­men News), Hursanay Ismatul­layeva (doc­tor who openly spoke about dis­crim­in­a­tion at work place), Pygam­berdi Allab­er­di­yev (law­yer, arres­ted for allegedly com­mu­nic­at­ing with lead­ers of inter­na­tion­al protest move­ments against the gov­ern­ment), Mansur Min­gelov, arres­ted for doc­u­ment­ing cases of tor­ture and ill-treat­ment of the Baloch com­munity in Turk­menistan, and Mur­at Ovezov (for recit­ing a poem about coron­vir­us on Youtube).

Azat Isakov was abduc­ted in Rus­sia by the Turk­men secur­ity ser­vices (MNB) with the assist­ance of Rus­si­an FSB and police from his home in Rus­sia on Octo­ber 20, 2021 at 12:43pm Moscow time. Before van­ish­ing without a trace, he informed his col­league Che­men Ore on Tele­gram in writ­ing: “Police are here. If they find me, they will take me. I am hid­ing”. He was not heard from since that day.

After numer­ous attempts to receive answers from the Rus­si­an author­it­ies a short response from Min­istry of Interi­or came that stated that Azat Isakov “flew out” of Domode­dovo Air­port to Turkmenabat, Turk­menistan on Octo­ber 22, 2021, less than 2 days after his abduc­tion, leav­ing all of his belong­ings and his phone in Rus­sia. Azat had no inten­tion of going to Turk­menistan. His pass­port was lost along with his bag stolen by thieves many years ago mak­ing any vol­un­tar­ily travel impossible. Addi­tion­ally, he has applied for asylum through Memori­al Human Rights Soci­ety and registered with UNHCR.

Anoth­er request for addi­tion­al inform­a­tion regard­ing details of Azat’s cir­cum­stances was filed. Rus­si­an Min­istry of Interi­or provided an addi­tion­al writ­ten cla­ri­fic­a­tion, in which they are retract­ing and cov­er­ing their actions that led to dis­ap­pear­ance of Azat. The response states that Azat was arres­ted by the FSB and police crim­in­al unit for viol­a­tion of the Immig­ra­tion Law. The let­ter from the Min­istry emphas­izes sev­er­al times that allegedly “Azat left the Court house on his own and without the police escort”.

On Octo­ber 21, 2020 Rus­sia and Turk­menistan rat­i­fied a mutu­al Agree­ment on State Secur­ity which sim­pli­fies trans­fer of dis­sid­ents in their respect­ive countries.

Since July 2020, the secur­ity ser­vices of Turk­menistan openly sent out threats to all Tuk­men act­iv­ists, includ­ing Azat and Che­men Ore, that Azat Isakov and many oth­ers will be drugged, packed in a bag and sent as cargo to Turk­menistan. They openly threatened that FSB will cooper­ate in the abductions.

Our sources inside the coun­try informed us that this spe­cial oper­a­tion of Azat Isakov’s abduc­tion was being developed since August 2020. Sources also say that Azat is being held without form­al regis­tra­tion, incom­mu­nic­ado in the base­ment of Depart­ment of Interi­or in Turkmenabat, Lebap and is being tor­tured daily under the guid­ance of officer Tagan­ov R.R in Room 52 of the 6th Spe­cial Police Unit for polit­ic­al pris­on­ers. We also received inform­a­tion that the oper­at­ives tor­tur­ing Azat are for­cing him to com­mit sui­cide. Azat’s rel­at­ives are also not aware of his whereabouts.

“Turk­men author­it­ies must imme­di­ately con­firm Isakov’s where­abouts and free him. The Biden admin­is­tra­tion and the European Uni­on, both of which hold annu­al human rights dia­logues with the Turk­men gov­ern­ment, should urge the same”, 

Che­men Ore, rep­res­ent­at­ive of 

Free­dom for Euras­ia and leader 

of Turk­menia Unite.