Turkmenistan is a one party state situated in central Asia and it’s pretty much closed off to the rest of the world, apart from a few hardy travelers that is.
There’s plenty of desert in Turkmenistan and it’s the site of the ancient ruins of Merv – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – that was once the world’s largest city. But…
Modern day Turkmenistan sounds pretty grim.
No freedom of expression. No dissent. No independent newspapers. No freedom of religion. No free elections.
Sounds simply awful.
The previous leader to the current one was famous for his extreme decrees and wacky personality cult, i.e. he once wrote a book and declared that the country’s people all had to read it to enter heaven.
His successor sounds not so odd but has not allowed any political reform.
The above video produced by New York based Human Rights Watch focuses on the fate of dozens of people who fell afoul of the authorities in 2002 and who have disappeared in the country’s prison system.
Their families have heard nothing about them since. No official word of their conditions and no contact at all with their disappeared loved one. They don’t even know if they’re dead or alive.
Human Rights Watch is calling on the authorities to take an initial step by proving that these people are still alive.