Nepeskuliev, Saparmamed

Biography: Born on February 5, 1978, in Balkanabad. Civic activist and freelance reporter working with RFE/RL’s Turkmen Service and the Alternative Turkmenistan News. Reported on economic and social problems of the region, published video statements on his own blog. Lived in Balkanabad.

Arrest and conviction: Arrested on July 7, 2015 in the city of Turkmenbashi. Charged with possession of 26 pills of Tramadol. His family learned of the detention only on July 28, 2015. Convicted on August 31, 2015 by the Turkmenbashi city court under Art. 303.1 p. 1 (illegal storage of medicinal products containing tramadol hydrochloride) of the CCT. Sentenced to 3 years of imprisonment. On December 14, 2015, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention published its opinion and designated Mr. Nepeskuliev’s detention as “arbitrary” because he “has been held incommunicado with no access to a legal representative; he was deprived of his right to legal assistance of his own choosing” and he “has been deprived of liberty for having peacefully exercised his right to freedom of expression.” (http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Detention/Opinions2015AUV/Opinion%202015% 2040_Turkmenistan_Nepeskuliev_AUV%20final.pdf).

Current situation: On August 5, 2016, the OSCE Representative for Freedom of the Media (OSCE RFoM) received the reply from the government of Turkmenistan according to which after the trial Nepeskuliev was not sent to a colony but was serving his sentence in a pre-trial detention center, namely detention facility BL-D/5, where he was doing “household duties.” According to official data, he received three short-term visits by his sister (the last in March 2016), and four food parcels (the last in March 2016). On July 25, 2016, he was admitted to the medical facility МR-К/15 with the following diagnosis: “exacerbation of peptic ulcer disease, hypovitaminosis, protein-vitamin insufficiency, cachexia, secondary chronic anemia.” Nepeskuliev’s admittance to the medical facility took place only after the government received the inquiry from OSCE RFoM. On the following requests from OSCE RFoM (November 2016), UN Committee against Torture (June 2016), statement of the European Union statement at the meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on March 2, 2017, Turkmenistan’s government has not provided any new information about the whereabouts and state of health of Nepeskuliev.