Police officers extort money from detainees or force them to work in their household plots

Culture & Society

Those Turkmen residents who have been subjected to administrative detention in are used as free labour.
Pursuant to article 49 of Turkmenistan’s Code of Administrative Offences, the administrative detention for up to 15 days might be imposed by the court. At the same time, according to correspondents of “Chronicles of Turkmenistan”, detainees might be sent to perform works in government agencies.
However, law enforcement officers who are in charge of detainees prefer to mobilize them to work in their personal household plots or those of their relatives. For example, detainees can be engaged in renovating or building houses or sheds or cleaning the poultry or cattle barns.
According to the detainees, who have already served their sentence, heads of the etrap police departments in Lebap velayat abuse power to use forced labour.  For instance, the head of Sakar police department S. Bekiev suggest detainees either perform works or pay 100 manats a day to stay in custody.
The detainees are obliged to stay in the police department from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. and throughout the day they are used as free labour.
Radio “Azatlyk” has previously reported that police officers from Lebap extort cash from those who have been detained on various charges to pay “fines”. If a detainee is reluctant to pay, he can be forcibly mobilized in a cotton-harvesting campaign.
According to the news outlet Turkmen news, in Mary children detained in public places for not wearing masks are also mobilized to harvest cotton.

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