Tajikistan: Rights lawyer Abdulmajid Rizoev sentenced to 5 years and 6 months imprisonment for posts on Facebook



On 14 June 2021, the Shokhmansur District Court of Dushanbe sentenced human rights defender Abdulmajid Rizoev to 5 years and 6 months’ imprisonment for “public calls for performance of an extremist activity made using the mass media or the Internet” under Part 2, Article 307.1 of the Criminal Code of Tajikistan. The charges are based on some of his Facebook posts from 2019 and 2020, which the Prosecutor identified as “hidden calls for extremism.” Two posts have been cited in particular, two of which were made in March 2020.

Abdulmajid Rizoev claimed in one post that of the people he interviewed following the parliamentary elections, 25% took part in the elections and 75% did not. In the other post, the human rights defender mocked a plaque outside a polling station, which stated that “participation in the elections is a sign of political intelligence”. Reference was also made to another post and repost from April 2019, in which the human rights defender claimed that the Tajik people are unduly placed in conditions of obligations to the authorities. People who liked Abdulmajid Rizoev’s posts were interrogated at the District Court of Dushanbe on 14 June 2021.

Abdulmajid Rizoev’s lawyers challenged the conclusion of the analysis of the Facebook posts conducted by a special commission, demanding that the court does not take into account this conclusion and to exclude it from the criminal case materials.

Abdulmajid Rizoev is a human rights defender and a lawyer, and was formerly a member of the Association of Young Lawyers “Amparo”, which was forcibly dissolved in 2012. As part of his human rights work, Abdulmajid Rizoev has been monitoring human rights violations occurring within the Tajikistan military during conscription and military service, and providing legal consultation to conscripts and soldiers, including those who have been subjected to physical and psychological abuse as new recruits in the army. In recent years, he has also been actively involved in defending the rights of residents in Dushanbe whose homes are to be demolished due to new construction projects underway. The defender provides the residents with legal representation, lodges complaints on their behalf and informs them of their rights to compensation and resettlement.




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