In September 2019, The Prove They Alive! campaign published and presented an updated report on the disappeared in Turkmenistan’s prisons.
The number of disappearances in the updated list remains the same – there are 121 victims of this heinous crime. Compared to the previous year, a few names were removed from the list, and a few new names were added.
The updated report includes cases of Kemal Saparov and Kakadjan Khakbaev, Turkmen students who were studying in Saint Petersburg and were convicted in 2018 shortly after their return to Turkmenistan for holidays. A case of Sultan Bebitov, who was convicted in 2013 in the case of the Group of Bakhrom Saparov, is also included.
Ilham Bektemirov was removed from the list as he was released from prison in December 2018. In May 2019, Seyran Mamedov, who was convicted in 2004 of assisting a relative of a Novemberist to flee the country, was released when he served his sentence in full.
Another name removed from the list is Gulgeldy Annaniyazov, who served in March 2019 his 11-year sentence in full, having been kept in total isolation from the outside world all this time. As the term expired, Annaniyazov was now freed, instead, he was illegally placed in internal exile in a remote village and was allowed some very limited visatations from the family.
The prison terms of a number of individuals on the list have already expired or will expire in the near future, and there is a high risk that they will be given new sentences on fabricated charges. This makes the issue of disappearance in prison more urgent than ever. Particular attention on the part of the international community to this group of disappeared could save their lives.
Cases in this report have been rigorously verified and conformed. However, it is important to note that in the context of severe suppression of civil liberties and denial of access to the country for foreign human rights organizations, this list is inevitably incomplete. According to our estimates, the total number of victims of enforced and involuntary disappearances in Turkmenistan is in the order of hundreds, and some prisoners have been held incommunicado since 2002.
The updated report can be viewed and downloaded HERE.