USCIRF Releases New Report about Religious Prisoners in Turkmenistan’s Gulag

Aug 13, 2020


USCIRF Releases New Report about Religious Prisoners in Turkmenistan’s Gulag

Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released the following new report:

Turkmenistan Policy Update - This update describes the brutal conditions that religious prisoners face in Turkmenistan, including detention or disappearance in the country’s vast prison system. Muslims, whom the government has vaguely or falsely accused of “Islamic extremism,” represent a disproportionately high number of those who disappeared or are serving harsh sentences. Additionally, while the Jehovah’s Witnesses are not technically banned in Turkmenistan, the government is conducting an ongoing crackdown on their conscientious objection to military service. USCIRF documents some of the known religious prisoners in Turkmenistan on its Freedom of Religion or Belief Victims List, although many more are believed to be held in secret. This report raises awareness about this inhumane prison system, details the cases of individuals imprisoned, and urges the U.S. Government to confront these gross violations of religious freedom and human dignity.

In its 2020 Annual Report, USCIRF recommended that the U.S. State Department designate Turkmenistan as a “country of particular concern” for its ongoing, systematic, and egregious religious freedom violations.


The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze, and report on religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at or Danielle Ashbahian at