Turkmenistan: Imprisoned Rights Activist Transferred to Prison Hospital with TB

On June 26 Mansur Mingelov – an activist for the rights of the Baloch minority in Turkmenistan, who is serving a 22-year prison term on false charges – was transferred to prison hospital MR-B/15 in a suburb of Mary after his health worsened. In the hospital his chest X-ray revealed tuberculosis.

Alternative Turkmenistan News reported on June 22 about Mingelov’s poor health condition at LB-K/11 strict regime labor camp in Seydi. Mingelov suffered from fever and high blood pressure, asthenia and heart pains. Labor camp doctors refused to admit him to the medical unit without a kickback and treat him due to lack of medicines.

Mingelov’s relatives bought him the necessary drugs but they did not help much, his body temperature stayed at 40-41 degrees.

After the transfer to prison hospital and identifying the disease, the doctors pumped out nearly half a liter of fluid from his pleural cavity, which helped reduce his body temperature to 38-39 degrees. Mingelov started to eat, although before he had no appetite at all. Within a short period of time he lost a lot of weight. Now the doctors plan to regularly pump out the fluid from his pleural cavity.

Despite his transfer to the prison hospital and a slight improvement in his health condition, the hospital personnel’s attitude towards Mingelov and other patients is inadequate. On June 2 Mingelov’s relatives brought antibiotics, drip solution, antihistamines, vitamin B and disposable gloves for him. By the facility’s rules, medicines from relatives first need to be registered in the hospital pharmacy before the treating doctors sign the receipt papers. However, Mingelov did not receive them on time.

On July 4, his relatives visited the hospital pharmacy and found a pharmacist lying on a couch and watching TV. The bag with medicines for Mingelov was next to him. Asked why he had not given them to Mingelov’s doctor, the pharmacist said he had passed everything on. When he checked the registry book however, he found that he had not actually delivered anything. The man immediately began to call Mingelov’s doctor on the phone to came and pick up the drugs.

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Mansur Mingelov is a Baloch activist from Mary province. He was first arrested on 6 June 2012, one day after his brother’s arrest. Mingelov was sent to a rehab facility for people who use drugs for 15 days, just because the police wanted to cover up the marks that they had left on him after long beatings. During these 15 days, he was twice enticed with drugs and he was later asked to sign a blank sheet of paper, which would have been used for a false confession.

In the absence of any reasonable charges against him, Mingelov was released on June 22, 2012. After his release, Mingelov appealed to the Prosecutor-General’s Office and to Turkmenistan’s President with a letter denouncing the torture he suffered by the State Service for Security Protection of a Healthy Society (formerly known as State Drugs Control Service). Between June 22 and August 2, when he was arrested again, Mingelov collected evidence and documented 11 cases of torture and ill-treatment of other members of Baloch community in Mary province. He sent copies of testimonies on compact discs to the Prosecutor-General’s Office, the OSCE Center and the U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat.

Reports from various people included allegations of law enforcement officers harming detainees’ bones with chisels, pulling the scrotum with pliers, and the use of electric shock, chair legs and plastic bottles for beatings and torture.

Mingelov’s expose of the crimes of Turkmenistan’s narcotics police was the informal reason for his second arrest right after leaving the U.S. Embassy. During the first five days of his detention, the authorities fabricated a criminal case against him. Despite many contradictions and discrepancies in the case, the court found Mingelov guilty and sentenced him to 22 years in prison on charges of drugs trafficking, production of pornography, and involving minors in “antisocial activities.”

In April 2014, Amnesty International started a global campaign for Mingelov’s case, calling for the Turkmen authorities to prevent his transfer to the Ovadan-Depe prison, where he had suffered beatings in the past.

In May 2014, while in prison, Mingelov went on an indefinite hunger strike in protest against his unlawful sentence. This drew the attention of international human rights organizations and his name was cited widely in the global human rights campaigns of Amnesty International and other organizations, as well as in U.S. State Department reports.

In May 2016, Aymurat Tadjiev – then chief investigator at the Drugs police, died in office. He was one of the former officials who tortured Mingelov and fabricated the case against him.

Alternative Turkmenistan News calls upon the government of Turkmenistan to pardon human rights activist Mansur Mingelov and provide him with professional treatment against tuberculosis and other diseases that he acquired during his 6-year illegal jail term.

Read this article in Russian: https://habartm.org/archives/9270

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