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TURKMENISTAN: Fourth known 2019 conscientious objector jailing

An Ashgabat court jailed 20-year-old Jehovah's Witness Azat Ashirov for two years on 31 July for refusing compulsory military service on grounds of conscience. He had set out his objections in writing and offered to perform an alternative civilian service. Instead prosecutors claimed he had evaded his obligation fraudulently. Seven Jehovah's Witness conscientious objectors are now jailed, four of them in 2019.

TURKMENISTAN: Conscientious objector jailed for four years

In the third jailing of a conscientious objector in 2019, 19-year-old Jehovah's Witness Bahtiyar Atahanov was jailed for four years. This is the longest jail term known to have been handed to a conscientious objector, because the authorities deemed him a soldier after forcibly conscripting him. Other prisoners of conscience have received far longer jail terms.

TURKMENISTAN: Second 2019 conscientious objector jailing

The 23-year-old Jehovah's Witness Muhammetali Saparmyradov was jailed for one year in March for refusing compulsory military service on grounds of conscience. He has joined 11 other jailed conscientious objectors in the labour camp in Seydi. Labour camp officials refused to discuss their prison conditions with Forum 18.

TURKMENISTAN: In Ramadan, Muslims fear "extremism" accusations

Muslims increasingly fear being branded "extremists" if they visibly fast or mark Ramadan. Turkmenistan has jailed numerous Muslims on vague "extremism" accusations, including to punish them for meetings to study their faith. One Muslim stopped going to mosque after police summoned him. "Who is more important, Allah or the President?" an officer asked him.

TURKMENISTAN: Human Rights Committee finds former prisoners' rights violated

The UN Human Rights Committee found Turkmenistan wrongly jailed three Jehovah's Witnesses for having religious literature, being at a religious meeting, and conscientious objection to military service respectively. The Foreign Ministry claimed to Forum 18 the country is working with the Human Rights Committee, but put the phone down when asked whether Committee Decisions would be implemented.

TURKMENISTAN: 24 hours in airport, travel ban for Korans

Security personnel at Ashgabat Airport detained a woman working in Turkey bringing in Arabic Korans as gifts for relatives, questioning her for 24 hours. She was later banned from leaving Turkmenistan. Police are again forcibly shaving men under 40 with beards. Officers forced one victim to drink alcohol.

TURKMENISTAN: New year, new jailed conscientious objector

With the 7 January one-year jailing of 18-year-old Azamatjan Narkulyev, 12 conscientious objectors – all Jehovah's Witnesses - are now jailed for refusing compulsory military service on grounds of conscience. No officials would comment on why, in defiance of United Nations calls, Turkmenistan jails these young men.

TURKMENISTAN: Tenth jailed conscientious objector in 2018

Turkmenistan rejected a call at the UN Human Rights Council UPR to introduce an alternative to compulsory military service. The rejection came weeks after another conscientious objector, 18-year-old Serdar Atayev, was jailed for one year. Ten are known to have been jailed in 2018.

TURKMENISTAN: Ninth jailed conscientious objector in 2018

With a third jailing in August, of 18-year-old Sokhbet Agamyradov, nine conscientious objectors are known to have been jailed in 2018. Forum 18 could not reach Human Rights Ombudsperson Yazdursun Gurbannazarova to ask why men unable to perform military service on grounds of conscience cannot do alternative service.

TURKMENISTAN: Now eight jailed conscientious objectors

With two jailings in August, eight conscientious objectors aged 18 to 24 are now serving labour camp terms of one to two years. Forum 18 could not reach Human Rights Ombudsperson Yazdursun Gurbannazarova to ask why young men are jailed for refusing military service on grounds of conscience.

TURKMENISTAN: Conscientious objector's maximum two-year jail term

Turkmenbashi City Court jailed 19-year-old Jehovah's Witness conscientious objector Mekan Annayev for the maximum two years for refusing compulsory military service on grounds of conscience. Five others have already been jailed in 2018, one in an apparent show trial. Two more young men face trial in August.

TURKMENISTAN: Three more conscientious objectors jailed

Three Jehovah's Witnesses were jailed in July for one year each for refusing compulsory military service on grounds of religious conscience. They are among at least five conscientious objectors jailed so far in 2018, all of them Jehovah's Witnesses. Prosecutor's Offices are still investigating others.