Tag Archives: Tajikistan

The Tajik Government’s Style Of Justice And Mercy

23/10/21

Buzurgmehr Yorov (file photo)

International rights watchdogs have long charged that the judiciary system in Tajikistan is often used to punish perceived enemies of the government.

There are, indeed, many cases in recent years to support those claims. And even when moved to gestures of mercy, the Tajik courts and state officials seem callous in their actions.

The following are some of the most egregious recent cases.

The Lawyer

Buzurgmehr Yorov is a Tajik attorney who was detained in late September 2015 and shortly thereafter sentenced to 28 years in prison.

In honor of Tajikistan marking 30 years of independence this year, an amnesty has been granted to some prisoners. Yorov had four years removed from his long sentence.

The 50-year-old attorney had a reputation for defending people who had little, if any, chance of proving their innocence in Tajik courts.

He defended members of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), a group that had been in a power-sharing agreement with President Emomali Rahmon’s government and was later seen by Rahmon as an impediment to his exerting greater control over the country.

Yorov also defended fellow lawyer Fakhriddin Zokirov, who was the attorney of businessman Zayd Saidov.

Saidov founded a new political party — Tajikistan Now — in April 2013 and was convicted in December that same year on charges of fraud, polygamy, and statutory rape, charges seen as politically motivated.

Zokirov was arrested in March 2014 on forgery charges and was held for eight months before he received an amnesty.

Saidov’s second lawyer, Shuhrat Kudratov, was sentenced to nine years in prison on charges of fraud and bribery. His term was shortened after two rounds of amnesties.

[…]

https://www.rferl.org/a/tajikistan-justice-system-prisoners-qishloq/31525766.html

https://www.rferl.org/a/tajikistan-yorov-sentence-shortened/31516708.html

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

https://www.avocatparis.org/actualites/tadjikistan-lavocat-defenseur-des-droits-de-lhomme-buzurgmehr-yorov-emprisonne (FRANCAIS)

Tajikistan: Court rejects cassation appeal for Abdulmajid Rizoev

13/08/21

crop_abdulmajid_rizoev.jpg

On 11 August 2021, the Dushanbe City Court rejected the cassation appeal to review Abdulmajid Rizoev’s case, which the human rights defender’s lawyer applied for on 16 July 2021. On 14 June 2021, human rights defender Abdulmajid Rizoev was sentenced 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 human rights defender has been detained in centre No.1 in Dushanbe since his arrest on 18 November 2020.

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.

Human rights defender Abdulmajid Rizoev is currently facing trial on accusations of “public calls for performance of an extremist activity made using the mass media or the Internet” in relation to his work providing legal defense for residents in Dushanbe who have been evicted from their homes due to a new construction project taking place in the city. If convicted, the human rights defender could face up to 5 years’ imprisonment. Abdulmajid Rizoev is currently being held at the detention centre #1 in Dushanbe.

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.

[…]

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/court-rejects-cassation-appeal-abdulmajid-rizoev

Call For Tajikistan To Release Human Rights Lawyer Ahead Of 50th Birthday Behind Bars

08/07/21

Buzurgmehr Yorov, a Tajikistani human rights lawyer (Photo supplied)

On 9 July 2021, Buzurgmehr Yorov, a Tajikistani human rights lawyer and outspoken critic of the government, will mark his 50th birthday behind bars. Yorov was wrongfully imprisoned in September 2015 and sentenced to 22 years on trumped-up charges. Ahead of this milestone birthday, human rights organisations CIVICUS and the International Partnership of Human Rights (IPHR) call for his immediate and unconditional release.

In 2015, Buzurgmehr was arrested after representing members and leaders of the banned opposition party, the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRTP). Following his arrest, he was interrogated for ten hours and allegedly beaten. He was then detained for eight months before his trial began – during this time he was physically abused and held in solitary confinement on many occasions.  

In a series of closed and unfair trials held between October 2016 and August 2017, the human rights lawyer was convicted on various charges, including overthrowing the government, inciting unrest, and insulting the President and government officials. Although his sentence was reduced by six years in November 2019 to mark the 25th anniversary of Tajikistan’s constitution, he is currently being held in the Strict Regime Prison Colony No.1 in Dushanbe.

In May 2019, the UN Human Rights Council concluded that Buzurgmehr’s arbitrary detention is against international law, and it called on the Tajikistan authorities to release him immediately. 

[…]

https://www.eurasiareview.com/08072021-call-for-tajikistan-to-release-human-rights-lawyer-ahead-of-50th-birthday-behind-bars/

https://www.civicus.org/index.php/media-resources/media-releases/5167-tajikistan-release-human-rights-lawyer-ahead-of-50th-birthday-behind-bars

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

Tajikistan: Tajik Rights Lawyer Says Security Case Opened Against Him In Absentia

25/06/21

Bakhtovar Jumaev (file photo)

Bakhtovar Jumaev, a Moscow-based Tajik lawyer, says officials in Tajikistan have opened a case against him for inciting “extremist activity.”

Jumaev told RFE/RL on June 25 that the Panjakent Organized Crime Department summoned his father a day earlier to inform him that they had opened the proceedings.

“I told him that my son was neither an extremist nor a terrorist, and that the accusations against him were slanderous,” Jumaev’s father said.

The Panjakent police department did not respond to calls from RFE/RL for comment.

Jumaev said earlier this month that officials told his family they should demand his return to Tajikistan.

After the warning, Jumaev left Russia for a third country. Without disclosing details, Jumaev said he had received information that Russian officials were planning to detain and deport him to Tajikistan.

Several Tajik activists in Russia say their relatives in Tajikistan are being targeted by the government in an effort to silence and threaten its critics abroad.

At least 15 Tajik activists have disappeared in Russia since 2015, human rights activists say. 

[…]

https://www.rferl.org/a/tajikistan-rights-lawyer-extremist/31325900.html

https://www.rferl.org/a/tajikistan-critics-missing-russia-disappearances/31297966.html

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

18/06/21

crop_abdulmajid_rizoev.jpg

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.

[…]

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/abdulmajid-rizoev-sentenced-5-years-and-6-months-imprisonment-posts-facebook

(ESPANOL)
(ITALIANO)

Tajikistan: Lawyer Gets Jail Term After Posting About Injustice In The Tajik Justice System

21/01/21

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One of the most hazardous jobs in Tajikistan is being a lawyer — at least the type of lawyer who believes in genuine justice.

Buzurgmehr Yorov and Nuriddin Makhkamov are two examples.

Yorov suddenly faced criminal charges after daring to defend Tajik opposition figures in court and Makhkamov faced similar charges after trying to defend Yorov.

Both were convicted of fraud, inciting national, racial, local, or religious hostility, and extremism, despite the prosecutors’ failure to present any evidence to support the charges. Yorov was sentenced in 2016 to 23 years in prison, with five additional years being added at a later trial, while Makhkamov was sentenced that same year to 21 years in prison.

Fast forward five years and you have Saidnuriddin Shamsiddinov, a 41-year-old attorney and former bailiff who was just sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison after a Vakhsh court found him guilty of seven crimes, among them the illegal sale of land, fraud, and purposefully spreading false information.

Shamsiddinov’s relatives reject the charges and verdict and say the real reason for Shamsiddinov’s imprisonment was his criticism about prosecutors and judges in posts on social networks.

RFE/RL’s Tajik Service, known locally as Ozodi, spoke with Shamsiddinov’s brother, Kamariddin, who said Saidnuriddin posted under the name Saidi Sadr and regularly denounced judges and prosecutors.

[…]

https://www.rferl.org/a/qishloq-ovozi-tajik-justice-system-lawyer-prison-criticism/31062112.html

https://thediplomat.com/2020/06/tajikistans-most-fearless-lawyer-remains-behind-bars/

https://www.rferl.org/a/tajik-lawyer-arrested-after-announcing-he-would-run-for-president/30821651.html

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

EU: Bring Human Rights to the Top of Central Asia Agenda

16/11/20

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in Brussels, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020.

The European Union (EU) should set consequences if Central Asian governments fail to meet more ambitious human rights goals, Human Rights Watch said today. The EU’s response to political turmoil, such as in Kyrgyzstan, or to challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic, should prioritize respect for human rights and the rule of law.

On November 17, 2020, EU top diplomat Josep Borrell will meet remotely with foreign ministers from each of the five Central Asian countries, KazakhstanKyrgyzstanTajikistanTurkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, for the 16th EU-Central Asia Ministerial meeting. It is the first such gathering since Borrell took office in December 2019.

“Central Asian countries’ responses to this year’s crises would have been more effective if they had lived up to their pledges to respect rights,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The EU should be clear that greater support to the region is tied to genuine human rights reforms.”

The new EU strategy for Central Asia, adopted in 2019, equipped the EU to advocate for upholding human rights standards in the region. The strategy is based on the premise that democracy and the rule of law are necessary to make public institutions more responsive and accountable to their citizens.

[….]

Until the end of April, Tajikistan denied the existence of Covid-19 in the country. Those documenting the spread of the disease faced retaliation. Over 150 political opponents, critics, or their lawyers remain behind bars for lengthy prison terms on political grounds. Prison conditions remain abysmal; activists report widespread torture and ill-treatment in detention. Critics in exile face attacks and abusive extradition requests, and their families and relatives at home are harassed and detained. Violence against women and girls remains a serious concern.

[…]

https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/11/16/eu-bring-human-rights-top-central-asia-agenda

https://www.rferl.org/a/eu-urged-to-pressure-central-asian-governments-on-human-rights/30952646.html

https://uazmi.com/news/post/gS5wc11uemLwEEF4pNZYxS

https://golosadvokata.ru/ (RUSSIAN)

Tajikistan: Jailed Tajik Lawyer Yorov Receives Human Rights Award In Warsaw

September 18, 2019

Buzurgmehr Yorov was sentenced to 28 years in prison.

Tajik lawyer Buzurgmehr Yorov has been awarded the Faiziniso Vohidova Human Rights Prize for his contribution to the development of democratic institutions and civil rights in Tajikistan.

The award is named after the late prominent Tajik lawyer, Faiziniso Vohidova, who for decades defended dissidents, rights activists, and opposition politicians.

The award, established by the Association of Central Asian Migrants in Europe, was handed to Yorov’s brother Jamshed Yorov in Warsaw at the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, on September 18.

Speaking to RFE/RL after the ceremony, Jamshed Yorov noted the symbolism in his brother receiving the award named for Vohidova as “both had a role in protecting human rights and protecting the people.”

Yorov is among at least five human rights attorneys whom groups say have been targeted by Tajik authorities in connection with their work.

He was a lawyer for 13 jailed members and leaders of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, which President Emomali Rahmon’s government labeled a terrorist organization and outlawed in 2015.

In October 2016, Yorov was sentenced to 23 years in prison after a court convicted him of calling for the government’s overthrow and inciting social unrest.

Later, his prison term was extended to 28 years on additional charges.

https://www.rferl.org/a/jailed-tajik-lawyer-yorov-receives-human-rights-award-in-warsaw/30171279.html

https://www.timesca.com/index.php/news/21617-tajikistan-jailed-lawyer-receives-human-rights-award-in-warsaw

https://www.rferl.org/a/faiziniso-vohidova-tajik-lawyer-who-defended-dissidents-for-decades-dies-at-55/29691242.html

Buzurgmehr Yorov

‘Europe Recognises Balkan Anti-War Activism is Important’

Nasser Zefzafi Not on the Shortlist for the 2019 Vaclav Havel Prize

https://www.rferl.org/a/finally-a-defense-of-tajikistan-s-lawyers/30185435.html

In Tajikistan lawyers have to be human rights defenders

https://eurasianet.org/tajikistans-prison-system-claims-victims-and-makes-monsters

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

Tajikistan: officials must end intimidation of lawyers, including the Bar Association Chairperson

September 10, 2019

The ICJ today expressed concern that a Government anti-corruption agency has engaged in acts of intimidation against the Chairperson of the Union of the Lawyers of the Republic of Tajikistan, Saidbek Nuritdinov, and 15 other lawyers.

The intimidation apparently relates to the lawyers’ defence of Abdulaziz Abdurahmonzoda, a lawyer facing trial on charges of fraud, who was allegedly ill-treated in detention by officers of the city Department of the Agency for Financial Control and Combating Corruption of the Republic of Tajikistan (Anti-Corruption Agency).

After the lawyers representing Abdurahmonzoda alleged that he had been ill-treated, the judge of the Sino district of Dushanbe city hearing the case, Ahmadzoda Farogat, requested the Prosecutor General’s Office to investigate the allegations.

Following the initiation of the inquiry of the allegations of ill-treatment, the Head of the Anti-Corruption Agency of Dushanbe, allegedly sent requests to a number of district courts of Dushanbe to obtain information about civil and criminal cases in which Saidbek Nuritdinov had participated as a lawyer.

Tajikistan: officials must end intimidation of lawyers, including the Bar Association Chairperson

https://www.uianet.org/en/news/new-date-uia-rule-law-award-cooperation-lexisnexis

http://notorturetj.org/news/saidbek-nuritdinov-antikorrupciya-okazyvaet-davlenie-na-advokatov (RUSSIAN)

Tajikistan: The Prosecutor General’s Office began an investigation into the use of torture against a lawyer

August 13, 2019

The Prosecutor General’s Office of Tajikistan has appointed a re-examination of the allegation of torture against lawyer Abdulaziz Abdurahmonzoda: anti-corruption officers knocked out his tooth during his arrest.

https://www.asiaplus.tj/en/node/270998

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🇹🇯 IBAHRI is deeply concerned by the recently published information that a Tajik lawyer Mr Abdulaziz Abdurahmonzoda has been illegally detained and tortured by the operative forces of Tajikistan. Attacks against the legal profession, including unlawful detentions, strongly undermine the lawyers’ ability or willingness to undertake certain cases or represent certain clients, and in turn jeopardize the rule of law and access to justice principles. Prohibition of torture is a jus cogens norm and an absolute prohibition under both Tajik and international law, that cannot be justified under any circumstances.
Given the seriousness of the matter, we therefore call on the Prosecutor General’s Office of Tajikistan to conduct a fair and impartial investigation into these disturbing allegations and ultimately hold responsible persons to account.

(International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute Facebook, 15/08/19)