On August 30, Turkmen refugee Ashirbay Bekiev, persecuted in his homeland for religious reasons, was deported from Moscow to Ashgabat. Currently he is in Dashoguz pre-trial detention center.
Ashirbay’s other brother, Tachmurad, is also awaiting extradition to Turkmenistan. The brothers' guilt is that they provided financial support to 12 Turkmen students in St. Petersburg and taught them Islam. Tachmurad is accused of complicity in terrorism and creating a criminal community, according to the Criminal Code of Turkmenistan, he faces imprisonment from 10 to 25 years.
Another believer, Akhmed Jumadurdyev, is also under pressure to be extradited from Russia at the request of Turkmenistan, despite the decision of the Rule 39 of the ECHR.
In Turkmenistan, more than a month ago, authorities arrested for 15 days a believer named Yakub from the village of Sharlavuk, Balkan province, just because he taught children the basics of the Koran. The authorities labeled him a “Wahhabi” and threatened him with 6 years of imprisonment as a member of a Wahhabi group. For 15 days, while under arrest, Yakub was forbidden to pray.
Recently, Radio Liberty reported that: “In the city of Turkmenbashi and the district of the same name, government officials come to the houses of citizens who practice Islam, conduct searches, and confiscate religious literature from them, except the Koran.” This message was confirmed by our sources.
Turkmenistan, in accordance with signed international agreements, as well as the Constitution, must respect the right of citizens to freedom of religion. We invite the authorities to reconsider their attitude towards this topic and be more tolerant in this matter.
Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights.