Berlin (25/11 – 90)
Eight United Nations experts are awaiting a response from Tajik authorities to a letter expressing concern about the fate of convicted journalists and civil activists. UN experts and special rapporteurs in their letter demanded an explanation from Dushanbe regarding reports of gross violations of the rights of nine convicted journalists and bloggers, as well as civil activists. The letter dated 12 May 2023, is published here. UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor has visited Tajikistan earlier to address the human rights violations in the country.
In their appeal, which UN experts sent to Dushanbe in May of this year, they provided details of the detention and imprisonment, as well as information about the conditions of detention in correctional institutions for journalists and bloggers Daleri Imomali, Abdullo Gurbati, Zavkibeki Saidamini, Abdusattor Pirmuhammadzoda, Khushruz Jumaev, human rights activists Abdulmajid Rizoev, Manuchehra Kholiknazarov, Faromuz Irgashev and civil activist Ulfatonim Mamadshoeva.
Last year, authorities sentenced them to terms ranging from 7 years to life in prison. Supporters of those convicted and international human rights organizations believe that the arrests and detention of journalists and civil activists were politically motivated. UN experts noted in a 20-page letter that from arrest to trial, the rights of detained journalists and activists were grossly violated.
One of the convicts, Daler Emomali, was accused of illegal entrepreneurship, dissemination of knowingly false information and participation in an extremist association, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. However, human rights activists believe that the authorities took revenge on him for his critical videos.
The letter expresses concern about the fate of journalist and civil activist Ulfatonim Mamadshoeva, whom the authors call a representative of the “Pamir minority.” UN experts expressed regret that the Tajik authorities never responded to their previous letters regarding the fate of Mamadshoeva.
66-year-old Ulfathonim Mamadshoeva was sentenced to 21 years in prison in early December 2022 . The Tajik authorities accused Ulfathonim Mamadshoeva of organizing mass riots in the Rushan district and the city of Khorog in May 2022. Supporters of Mamadshoeva consider the criminal case to be fabricated.
The letter, signed, in particular, by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor, and the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Alice Gill Edwards, cites cases of torture and ill-treatment of detainees. The authors write that the arbitrary arrests of some of those convicted are contrary to the laws of Tajikistan and international law. UN experts also criticized the Tajik authorities for imprisoning detained journalists and bloggers on trumped-up charges of extremism and collaboration with banned organizations. The actions of the Tajik authorities are a stern warning to other human rights defenders: criticism will be severely punished.
The letter was officially sent to the government of Tajikistan in May. The authorities had to respond to this message within 60 days. However, apparently, there was no response from Dushanbe: the UN, as a rule, publishes responses to its appeals on its official website.
In recent years, the government of Tajikistan has been criticized by the UN, Western countries and international human rights organizations for regular violations of human rights in the country.
Source : Radio Free Europe