In recent years, Turkmen activists have finally woken up. Yes, not in Turkmenistan itself, but abroad, but the fact remains a fact. Official Ashgabat is doing everything to silence their voices. It persecutes them not only for criticism, but simply for stating the difficulties that the Turkmen bureaucracy creates.
We call for an end to the persecution of human rights defenders, journalists and civil activists, ordinary citizens, such as Khursanay Ismatullayeva, who fought against dismissal due to the lawlessness of her boss. Neither the trade union nor the ombudsman helped her, but rather sent her to prison, falsifying the reason for criminal charges.
Turkmen activists are being prosecuted for their legal activities and exercise of freedom of speech. Murad Dushemov, who had just started his blogging activities in Turkmenistan itself, was imprisoned for 4 years, having fabricated a criminal case against him. In the same way, the government sends fabricated requests to activists living abroad, groundlessly accusing them of various criminal cases. It is alarming that the countries to which the request is sent take these false accusations at face value. Often the accusations are speculative and not supported by any facts. The texts of the accusation are based on conjectures and assumptions of investigators, not supported by either facts or evidence.
Recently, at the instigation of the authorities, pro-government bloggers have become more active, calling activists agents, spies, and corrupt traitors to the motherland with impunity. Women are immediately labeled as prostitutes, dirty slander, obscenities and threats to destroy the entire clan are poured into their address. All this has a very negative impact on the emergence of civil society, which is not left in the country itself. Anyone can label civil activists, bloggers, and human rights defenders, but since Turkmen justice does not stand up to any criticism, there is no mechanism to protest this in Turkmen reality.
If we do not help the activists who are making great contributions to the nascent Turkmen civil society, then Turkmenistan will fall into the abyss of the Middle Ages for several more decades. It makes no difference where it begins to emerge, in Turkmenistan itself or where hundreds of thousands of Turkmen citizens live compactly abroad. It is important to support young activists striving for democratization of society.
Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights