October 10, 2017
Last time the European Union and Tajikistan held high-level talks on human rights in summer 2016, Tajik authorities were in the midst of the worst crackdown in the country’s recent history. Six days before talks took place, the country’s supreme court had sentenced the leaders of Tajikistan’s leading opposition party, the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan to cruelly long prison sentences. The trials were politically motivated, and the defendants tortured. There was no evidence of the activists’ involvement in non-peaceful activities.
This Thursday, the human rights dialogue will once again take place in Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe. But this year, things are even worse.
More than 150 political activists, including at least three human rights lawyers – Shuhrat Kudratov, Buzurgmehr Yorov, and Nuriddin Makhkamov – remain unjustly jailed. Kudratov, who’s already served three years, was to have been released last year but authorities kept him behind bars. And just last week information surfaced that Yorov – who along with Makhkamov is serving 25 years – has been brutally beaten by prison guards recently and thrown into solitary.