Tag Archives: Tajikistan

Tajikistan: HRF Calls for Release of Detained Lawyers, End of Press Persecution in Tajikistan

August 29, 2017

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) condemns the three-year extension of Tajikistani lawyer Buzurgmehr Yorov’s 25-year sentence. Yorov was initially arrested for agreeing to act as legal representation for members of the country’s Islamic opposition party, the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), and sentenced to 23 years of imprisonment. Since then, courts have added five years to his sentence, pushing his cumulative prison time above the legal limit. Yorov’s court cases are part of the continuing persecution of lawyers associated with the IRPT. HRF calls on the Tajikistani regime to release Yorov and four other lawyers who were detained for defending IRPT members, and to cease harassing journalists in connection with the IRPT trials.

“All dictatorships lack judicial independence. However, only the most repressive regimes go so far as to target the lawyers that defend their political opponents. Lawyers like Yorov are simply doing their jobs,” said Thor Halvorssen, president of HRF. “Dictator Emomali Rahmon must end the persecution of lawyers and the press in Tajikistan,” added Halvorssen.

Yorov was first arrested on September 28, 2015 on charges of forgery and fraud while representing 13 senior members of the IRPT. He was detained shortly after he issued astatement on the torture of IRPT political leaders in which he specifically referenced one of his clients and called on lawyers, human rights defenders, and activists to protect the prisoners. During his trial in October 2016, he was charged with “calling for the overthrow of the Tajik regime” and “inciting social unrest,” and sentenced to 23 years in prison.

On March 16, 2017, the Supreme Court extended Yorov’s sentence by two additional years in response to an incident in October 2016, when Yorov recited a poem about foolishness during a closed-door trial.

https://www.hrf.org/single-post/2017/08/29/HRF-Calls-for-Release-of-Detained-Lawyers-End-of-Press-Persecution-in-Tajikistan

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buzurgmehr_Yorov

Advertisements

Tajikistan: In Tajikistan, Lawyer Buzurgmehr Yorov Faces Even More Charges

August 4, 2017

In Tajikistan, Lawyer Buzurgmehr Yorov Faces Even More Charges

A state prosecutor in Tajikistan has reportedly asked the courts to extend the sentence of Buzurgmehr Yorov, a lawyer convicted last year, again — this time by 17 years for additional fraud and insulting the leader of the nation.

According to Asia-Plus, because of a legal restriction on how long a defendant can be sentenced — 30 years — if the new case results in a conviction, Yorov would get at most 5 more years.

Yorov was arrested in September 2015. Tajik authorities accused Yorov and another lawyer, Nuriddin Mahkamov, of fraud and forgery, and then heaped on additional crimes: inciting ethnic enmity, calling for the otherthrow of the government, support of extremist activity.

Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.

The state’’s critics pointed out that the lawyers’ real crime was agreeing to represent the leadership of the Islamic Renaissance Party (IRPT), who had been arrested in a broad sweep in September 2015. The IRPT leadership were sentenced to long prison terms — two to life — and so were their lawyers. In October 2016, Yorov was handed a 23-year sentence.

A few months later, prosecutors asked to extend his term because of his reading of an 11th century poem in court during his first trial. He was charged with contempt of court and insulting a government official. Farangis Najibullah, of RFE/RL, explained the incident:

As he sat in the dock during a court hearing in October, Yorov read out a stanza from a classic poem by the Persian poet Omar Khayyam.

The passage goes something like this:

With these ignorant few who foolishly

Consider themselves the intelligent ones of the world

Should be donkeys, because they are so deep in donkeyness

That they call “blasphemous” whomever is not a donkey

Eyewitnesses who were present in the Dushanbe courtroom say the reading led to a heated exchange between the defendant and the prosecutor.

Yorov was convicted and two more years added to his sentence.

http://thediplomat.com/2017/08/in-tajikistan-lawyer-buzurgmehr-yorov-faces-even-more-charges/

Tajikistan: The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the travel ban against lawyer Fayzinisso Vohidova in Tajikistan

July 5, 2017

The Law Society of Upper Canada

The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the travel ban against lawyer Fayzinisso Vohidova in Tajikistan.

Fayzinisso Vohidova is a Khujand-based lawyer known for her human rights and criminal defence work in politically sensitive cases. As a result of her professional activities, she has long been the target of government harassment. Since July 2015, she has endured surveillance and intimidation. In early 2016, she received credible information that law enforcement officials had initiated a criminal investigation against her.

More recently, on May 14, 2017, border guards with the State Committee on State Security prevented Fayzinisso Vohidova from traveling to Kyrgyzstan. They detained her for eight hours, stating that there was a “defect” in her passport and that she “had no right to leave Tajikistan”. Eventually, the border guards conceded that Fayzinisso Vohidova had been placed on a list of individuals banned from leaving the country. Arbitrary bans on travel violate article 12(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which guarantees every individual the right to leave any country, including his or her own. Tajikistan became a party to the ICCPR in 1999.

Reports further indicate that in the weeks that preceded the above-mentioned incident, Fayzinisso Vohidova had been interrogated multiple times by Tajik security services. Human rights organizations believe that these latest acts of harassment against Fayzinisso Vohidova are related to the critical remarks she made about the imprisonment of two Tajik human rights lawyers, Buzurgmehr Yorov and Nuriddin Makhkamov. In April 2017, she had publicly appealed to President Emomali Rahmon through social media, criticizing the government’s imprisonment of Yorov and Makhkamov, both of whom were convicted and sentenced in October 2016 following a prosecution and trial that appeared to be politically motivated. The Law Society intervened on behalf of Buzurgmehr Yorov in February 2016 and January 2017, and on behalf of Nuriddin Makhkamov in January 2017.

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147504001

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503997

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503996&langtype=1033

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/07/18/tajikistan-stop-persecuting-opposition-families

http://www.ccbe.eu/fileadmin/speciality_distribution/public/documents/HUMAN_RIGHTS_LETTERS/Tajikistan_-_Tadjikistan/2017/EN_HRL_20170809_Tajikistan_Concerns-regarding-the-travel-ban-against-lawyer-Fayzinisso-Vohidova.pdf

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147504001&langtype=1036 (FRANCAIS)

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503997&langtype=1036 (FRANCAIS)

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503996&langtype=1036 (FRANCAIS)

Tajikistan: Authorities File Charges Against Jailed Lawyer’s Relatives

May 31, 2017

Authorities in Tajikistan have piled the pressure on jailed lawyer Buzurgmehr Yorov by filing criminal charges against his sister and brother.

Yorov’s sister, Hosiyat, told EurasiaNet.org that she and another brother, Jamshed, learned on May 29 that they face accusations of inciting the violent overthrow of the government. Jamshed Yorov and a former lawyer for the family, Muzamma Kodirova, have been hit with separate charges of incitement to ethnic and religious hatred. All three are currently outside Tajikistan.

Buzurgmehr Yorov was arrested in September 2015 on charges of fraud and forging documents only days after he agreed to represent leading members of the now-banned Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, who were accused of attempting to topple the government. Rights groups called the case “politically motivated.” In total, Yorov has been sentenced to serve 25 years in jail.

The Yorov siblings are under pressure to return to their homes country from Germany, where they are currently pursuing efforts to lodge their brother’s case in international rights tribunals.

“Jamshed’s wife is being kept in Tajikistan as a hostage. They will not let her leave the country. They have threatened her by saying that if she leaves, they will file charges against other members of her family,” Hosiyat Yorova told EurasiaNet.org.

http://www.eurasianet.org/node/83771

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/6495-tajikistan-human-rights-watchdogs-condemn-crackdown-on-lawyers

Tajikistan: Tajikistani lawyers harassed, intimidated and imprisoned

May 24, 2017

Image result for Amnesty international

Tajikistani authorities have dealt a major blow to the legal profession through political manipulation of the criminal justice system and repressive legislation, Amnesty International said today ahead of the country’s National Lawyer Day.

A new briefing reveals a raft of repressive government tactics used to intimidate, silence and crush lawyers in the country, punishing them for the legitimate exercise of their professional duty. Over the last two years, the number of licensed lawyers fell by more than half.

“In a country where fundamental freedoms barely exist, where government critics are incarcerated and independent media silenced; lawyers – particularly human rights lawyers – play an essential role in defending those whose rights are under attack,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.

“The government has turned its attention to lawyers and launched an unrelenting assault that has drastically reduced their numbers and limited their independence; and seen those who put their professional duty above fear of reprisal thrown behind bars.”

Amendments adopted in November 2015 to the law regulating licencing requirements for lawyers brought the process back under control of the Ministry of Justice. The number of licensed lawyers has fallen from more than 1200 in 2015, to just 600 today.

Lawyers who defended clients accused of “extremism” have themselves faced increasing state abuse and persecution, including punitive arrest and long prison terms following unfair trials. The families of lawyers have also faced harassment and intimidation from Tajikistani security forces and local authorities.

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/05/tajikistani-lawyers-harassed-intimidated-and-imprisoned/

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/6495-tajikistan-human-rights-watchdogs-condemn-crackdown-on-lawyers

https://www.rferl.org/a/tajikistan-amnesty-lawyers-crackdown-yorov-mahkamov-kudratov/28505124.html

http://thediplomat.com/2017/05/no-justice-for-lawyers-in-tajikistan/

Tajikistan: Travel Ban on Rights Lawyer

May 16, 2017

Fayzinisso Vohidova. © TajInfo

Tajik border guards on the Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border on May 14, 2017, prevented a prominent human rights lawyer from leaving the country, Human Rights Watch and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee said today. Tajik authorities should immediately rescind the ban on Fayzinisso Vohidova and immediately and unconditionally release three other human rights lawyers imprisoned or detained on politically motivated charges.

Border guards with the State Committee on State Security at the Auchi-Kalyacha border post stopped Vohidova as she sought to travel to Kyrgyzstan. They detained her for eight hours, stating there was a “defect” in her passport and that she “had no right to leave Tajikistan.” In the weeks preceding her stop, Tajik security services interrogated Vohidova several times. She had made critical remarks about the government’s imprisonment of Buzurgmehr Yorov, a human rights lawyer who was sentenced to 25 years following a prosecution and trial that appeared politically motivated.

“Tajik authorities are blatantly violating Vohidova’s right to freedom of movement,” said Steve Swerdlow, Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “This appears to be part of a pattern to keep critical voices, including Tajikistan’s independent lawyers, from spreading information about the ongoing and severe political crackdown in the country.”

Vohidova, a Khujand-based lawyer known for her human rights and criminal defense work, has long been the target of government harassment and intimidation for taking on politically sensitive cases.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/05/16/tajikistan-travel-ban-rights-lawyer

http://www.eurasiatimes.org/en/21/05/2017/tajik-lawyer-stopped-at-border/

Tajikistan/Germany: Jailed Tajik Lawyer’s Lawyer Flees, Fearing Her Client’s Fate

March 31, 2017

Jailed Tajik Lawyer's Lawyer Flees, Fearing Her Client's Fate

Muazzama Qodirova, a Tajik lawyer, told RFE/RL this week that she is in Germany applying for political asylum. According to RFE/RL, she said “that Tajik authorities had threatened to launch a criminal investigation accusing her of leaking information about her client’s case to foreign media.”

Qodirova is the latest in an ever-lengthening list of lawyers hounded by Tajik authorities based on the clients they represent. In Qodirova’s case, she has been representing Buzurgmehr Yorov, the lawyer whose 23-year prison sentence — handed down in October 2016 after a closed trial — was recently extended by three years.

Yorov, and another lawyer specializing in human rights cases, Nuriddin Mahkamov, were arrested shortly after their most prominent clients: the leaders of the Islamic Renaissance Party (IRPT). The lawyers were accused and convicted of inciting ethnic enmity, calling for the overthrow of the government, support of extremist activity, fraud, and forgery.

http://thediplomat.com/2017/03/jailed-tajik-lawyers-lawyer-flees-fearing-her-clients-fate/

http://www.rferl.org/a/lawyer-jailed-tajikistan-human-rights-attorney-flees-germany/28399757.html