Man forced to choose prison or death of pet dog
For residents of Ashgabat, capital of one of the world's most bizarre dictatorships, taking the dog for a walk has become a dangerous pastime. Earlier this month, a pet-lover was walking his dog through the streets of Turkmenistan's capital late one evening, when he was suddenly surrounded by police, pushed to the ground, and dragged off to the local police station.
According to police, the cortège of the country's leader, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, had been speeding along a nearby boulevard, which in Turkmenistan means that the streets are cleared of cars and people for several blocks around. The unfortunate dog-walker had strayed into a restricted area, and the police soon told him that an order had come from the top – either they could shoot the dog, or the man would have to go to prison for two weeks. Unable to pronounce the death sentence on his pet, the man agreed to prison.
The story, which was recounted on an independent website run by Turkmen émigrés, is hard to verify, as there are no free media in the country. But the incident would fit with an apparent pathological hatred of household pets on the part of Mr Berdymukhamedov, detailed in an American diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks last year.
The cable recounted an incident where a cat ran in front of the presidential motorcade. The President was so angry that a top military official was fired. The Turkmen press has also reported an extermination drive to remove stray dogs and cats from the capital on his orders.
- 1 Paris attacks: Do not call Charlie Hebdo killers 'terrorists', BBC says
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 5 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
Paris attacks: Do not call Charlie Hebdo killers 'terrorists', BBC says
Rowan Atkinson to sell £10 million McLaren 'supercar' he crashed into a tree and a lamppost
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Howard 'Mr Nice' Marks reveals he has inoperable cancer: 'I've had an incredible life'
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: The Company sells mobile video advertising sol...
£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have a vacancy within our ra...
£18000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - 1st Line Helpde...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Superb opportunity for a BUYING...