Turkmenistan’s prison system has shocked the public after a revealing report

Crude Accountability, a human rights and environmental organization headquartered in Virginia (USA), has published another report describing the horrors and violations of prisoners’ rights in Turkmenistan’s closed prison system. The information appeared on their official website.

The authors of the report confirmed the version that Turkmenistan is already among the leaders among the countries of the world in terms of the number of prisoners per capita. Together with satellite images, they described in detail and showed how two prisons in Turkmenistan (Akdash colony located 15 kilometers from the city of Turkmenbashi, and Ovadandepe prison located 50 kilometers from Ashgabat in the Karakums) are expanding their territories and increasing their capacity. Satellite imagery from 2015 shows the progress of the construction of a new prison building adjacent to the existing prison, which the report refers to as “New Akdash”.

Meanwhile, conditions for prisoners remain inhumane: prisoners constantly experience torture, and beatings, rations are inadequate, and hygiene products are in short supply. All this, according to Kate Watters, Executive Director of Crude Accountability, demonstrates Turkmenistan’s unwillingness to honor its international commitments to the UN, OSCE, or international conventions.

Moreover, the neglect of human rights violations has reverberated beyond the country’s borders. Indeed, “Turkmenistan’s continued impunity creates an opening for other authoritarian governments to tighten their authoritarian methods. As we watch human rights violations across Eurasia, we see the brutal methods of the Turkmen regime being used in other countries as well,” Watters said.

Using World Prison Brief data, the prison population in Turkmenistan is more than 35,000. That is, there are 576 prisoners for every 100 thousand inhabitants of Turkmenistan. Thus, Turkmenistan is in third place after the United States and Rwanda.

According to Radio Azatlyk, the Akdash prison is holding convicted former law enforcement officers. From the Ministry of National Security, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Prosecutor’s Office. And “Ovadandepe” was notorious for the enforced disappearance of more than a hundred political prisoners. Observers note that the Turkmen regime uses its prison system to support the fear and obedience of the people.

Looking at all this, one would like to quote the words of Niccolo Machiavelli from the book “The Sovereign”:

“What is better: for a sovereign to be loved or for him to be feared? They say that it is best to be feared and loved at the same time; however, love does not coexist well with fear, so if we have to choose, it is more reliable to choose fear.”