The presidential elections in Turkmenistan
scheduled to take place on 12 February this year bring
new harassment and threat to Geldy Kyarizov, former director
of the Government Association Turkmenatlary (Turkmen Horses)
and an internationally renowned breeder of Akhal Teke horses.
Geldy Kyarizov, aged 61, is a world known breeder of an
ancient horse breed, the Akhal Teke. This most rare breed
is the pride of Turkmenistan, source of its national identity,
part of its emblem and printed on any of the country’s
banknotes. So his position as a director of the Government
Association Turkmenatlary (Turkmen Horses) was more than
just a symbolic act of acknowledgement by the former president
Kyarizov used his knowledge and influence to re-establish
the breed which had suffered during the Soviet times and
he put much effort into saving the purity of this cultural
This seems to have caused severe irritation among other
breeders, businessmen interested in the country´s
most popular horse race industry, who bred the Akhal Teke
to English Thoroughbred horses in order to make them faster.
The conflict allegedly cost Kyarizov the favour of the
“Turkmenbashi” and led to his arrest in January
2002 on charges including “abuse of office”
and “negligence”. Following a trial that according
to Amnesty International was not in line with international
fair trial standards he was sentenced to six years imprisonment
in April 2002.
During his arrest he is said to have been mentally and
physically tortured, was declared dead to his family, suffered
from a stroke and was in a very bad state of health when
finally released in 2007.
International attention to this case and foreign help probably
saved Kyarizov´s life.
Until then the new political head, President Gurbanguly
Berdymukhammedov, would give neither Kyarizov, nor his wife
Yulia Serebryannik and their family any chance to recover.
In March 2010 Kyarizov’s stud farm was reported to
have been confiscated, including all his precious Akhal
Teke horses. This deprived the family of any possibility
to make a living. Kyarizov and his wife allegedly are not
allowed to work in Turkmenistan.
Furthermore the family complains that psychological pressure
is being raised by constant observation of their house,
by police following them wherever they go, by people from
the Ministry of National Security threatening visitors who
want to contact the family, stopping them outside the house
and warning them against troubles if they should go there.
Kyarizov’s wife faces a criminal case for the “seizure
of the territory” of their stud farm. Insiders report
that the procurator threatened her with prison if she refused
to sign the papers and if she passed on anything about the
case to international friends and the press.
Despite all this neither Kyarizov, nor his wife, daughter
and sister in law are allowed to leave the country.
Original article by Dr. Andrea Rauter: