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'Torture by Hunger': Horse Breeder Describes Desperate Days in Turkmen Prison

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

After armed guards led Geldy Kyarizov through the gates of Ovadan Depe, a prison in the Turkmen desert outside Ashgabat, they tore the sack off his head and told him, "Only God can help you now."
 
A little later, cellmates in the maximum-security prison's "special block" had another warning for the newcomer: "Nobody has left this place alive yet," they told him. "People only arrive here."
 
Kyarizov did get out alive, though. Sentenced to six years in prison on charges he says were groundless, he was abruptly freed in 2007 after eccentric autocrat Saparmurat Niyazov died and was succeeded as president by Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, who has made moderate changes but continues to rule Turkmenistan with an iron hand.
 
In a rare account of life in the secretive former Soviet republic's toughest prison, Kyarizov described Ovadan Depe as a "horrific" place whose inmates rarely saw the sky and were starved to the point of emaciation and despair.
 

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Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

'Torture by Hunger': Horse Breeder Describes Desperate Days in Turkmen Prison

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