The following text is based on interviews with Geldy Kyarizov and his wife Yulia Serebryannik, which were recorded by Vitaly Ponomarev, head of the Central Asia Program of Human Rights Center Memorial (Russia), in 2015 in Moscow. Read the full version here (PDF).
Geldy Kyarizov is one of the few former Ovadan Depe prisoners who managed to travel outside of Turkmenistan. His first-hand account of the appalling detention conditions in that prison is extremely important. Since 2003, when the first group of prisoners was convoyed to Ovadan Depe, secret government instructions, rather than the law, have determined the fate of most Ovadan Depe inmates. Dozens of political prisoners, including Turkmenistan’s high-profile public figures and former government officials, have died there. According to reports, some inmates have had their prison terms extended on trumped-up charges, perhaps in an attempt to avoid disclosure of Ovadan Depe’s dark secrets. Only strong international pressure can prevent new victims of Ovadan Depe.
The problems faced by Geldy Kyarizov and his family did not end after they left Turkmenistan in 2015. While in Russia, they have been continuously followed, subjected to a violent assault (see http://provetheyarealive.org/geldy-kyarizov-and-family-threatened-by-unidentified-turkmen/), and regularly receive threats from unknown individuals, apparently acting on behalf of the Turkmen government, who insist that Kyarizov and his family members stop giving interviews and speaking at international conferences about their own experience, illegal persecution and political repression, and the state of Turkmenistan’s prison system. In addition to that, in an attempt to silence Kyarizov’s family, their relatives and friends living in Turkmenistan are consistently subjected to pressure.