Turkmen prisoner goes on hunger strike


Mansur Mingelov

Mansur Mingelov (39), a Turkmen national imprisoned for 22 years, went on indefinite ‘dry’ hunger strike in LB/K-11 strict-regime prison colony in the city of Seidi (Lebap province in eastern Turkmenistan). On 19 May he informed the chief of the colony Maj. Batyr Gullyev in writing about his refusal to take food and water. In the statement Mingelov demands an appointment with a representative of the Prosecutor’s office from the department that oversees the legality of court sentences and representatives of the National institute of democracy and human rights under the president of Turkmenistan. Mingelov insists on his innocence and demands the reconsideration of his case and the court decision. If his demands are not fulfilled Mansur Mingelov intends to sew his mouth shut.

On April 23, 2014 Amnesty International released an Urgent Action letter calling upon the international democratic community to pressure the Turkmen authorities in order to prevent Mansur Mingelov’s illegal transfer to Ovadan-Depe prison. During his previous time at this prison he was regularly beaten.

According to our sources, there was no positive reaction to Amnesty International’s call, which was made available to the media. On the contrary, after the call Mansur Mingelov has been facing unprecedented pressure from the colony’s authorities. On April 26 Mingelov was summoned to the chief of the colony Batyr Gullyev. The official began to interrogate Mingelov about whom he writes to on the internet and why he writes his letters at all. At the end of the meeting, which took place in the prison yard and witnessed by many other prisoners, Maj. Gullyev threatened to deprive him of meetings with his relatives and limit the size of parcels he could receive in the future.

In addition to that, in the morning of April 29 officers of the State Service for Security Protection of Healthy Society of Turkmenistan (former State Drug Control Service) visited Mansur Mingelov’s father. With no due explanation they took away his mobile telephone, copied all of the contacts and text messages and left. The State Service for Security Protection of Healthy Society of Turkmenistan is the agency that stands behind the criminal case of Mansur Mingelov and his brother Rustam. Both were charged with involving minors in ‘socially inappropriate actions’, production and distribution of pornography, contraband, and production or distribution of drugs. Both Mansur and Rustam were tortured by the officers of this agency, which Mansur lodged complaints about with the Prosecutor General’s Office and the President of Turkmenistan between June and August 2012 before he was rearrested.

On May 1 a fellow prisoner in the colony provoked Mansur Mingelov to a fight. Later that day four prison guards headed by the chief of the operational unit broke into the section where Mingelov lives. The first thing they asked was where Mingelov’s bed was. Then they began to disassemble his mattress at the seams. Having found nothing illegal, they all left the cell.

At the moment his fellow prisoners are warning Mansur Mingelov against demanding his rights. Otherwise, they say, because of him “the entire colony would be shaken and then everybody would suffer”. There is credible information that the colony’s officials are looking for a reason to label him a Wahhabi. This would serve as the official reason to isolate Mingelov or send him to Ovadan-Depe prison. Inquiries about Mansur Mingelov are made also among the large number of ethnic Baloch inmates in other prisons of Turkmenistan. Mingelov is an ethnic Baloch himself. In MR/K-16 colony in the city of Bayramali a few inmates were asked questions about Mingelov, including whether they consider him their leader.

Alternative Turkmenistan News calls upon all human rights organisations and media that work on Turkmenistan or display interest in news from this country to spread the information among their contacts about Mansur Mingelov’s hunger strike. From our side we will bring it to the attention of foreign diplomats in Turkmenistan, including the U.S. Embassy officials, and the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat. Both institutions are aware of the case of Mansur Mingelov. In 2012 he recorded 11 incidents of torture and other ill-treatment against members of the ethnic Baloch community in Mary province and took the CDs to the U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat and the OSCE.