Tag Archives: Families’ Pressures

Freethinkers: “Defend Tajik emigrants from political persecution”

The Forum of Tajik Freethinkers calls on Turkish authorities and international human rights organizations not to allow the extradition from Turkey of a citizen of Tajikistan, Saidullo Valiev, who was detained recently.
The Tajik authorities do not give up opportunities to obtain extradition of the representatives of the Tajik opposition and even their relatives from a number of countries in the hope that these countries are able to forget the legal and civilized norms for the sake of partnership. Earlier, on March 19, 2018 at the request of the government of Tajikistan in Istanbul, the leader of the Tajik opposition movement «Group 24» Zafar Turaev and activist Nasim Sharipov were detained.
According to the Payom.net Internet portal, Saidullo Valiev was detained on May 3, 2018 in Istanbul at his workplace, and the representatives of the Turkish authorities demanded from him to buy a ticket to Dushanbe. After the refusal, Valiyev was asked to leave Turkey on the «extradition condition» and fly to a third country: to Georgia. However, 6 hours before the flight to Tbilisi, Valiyev was offered to fly to Moldova. But on the way to the airport he was detained again and delivered to the Migrant Deportation Center of the Turkish Migration Service.
We regard these actions as threatening the safety, health and life of the citizen Saidullo Valiev and as damaging the international image of Turkey.
We urge the Turkish authorities not to return Saidullo Valiev to Tajikistan where he might face a real of being subject to torture and imprisonment on trumped-up charge.
Saidullo Valiev is the son-in-law of Mirzorakhim Kuzov, one of the members of the IRPT leadership, whose extradition from Athens’ Greek court was denied earlier to the Tajik authorities. The Tajik security forces, following an unsuccessful attempt to request the extradition of Mirzorakhim Kuzov from Europe, continued pressure on his relatives in Tajikistan. As reported, Kuzov’s brother, Rakhim Kuzov, his wife Fotima Davlatova and two of their sons in their homeland, are under pressure from the special services of Tajikistan. At the same time, the elder brother of a member of the IRPT leadership was detained and interrogated for 15 hours.
The Tajik authorities’ stance against civilized and disrespect for the norms of humanism, human rights and their own laws should not be confirmed and encouraged by other self-respecting states.
It is necessary to do everything so that the Tajik authorities stop attempts at abductions and attempts against those who think differently, as it happened to Maksud Ibragimov in Moscow.
Many questions remain about the murder in Istanbul of Umarali Kuvvatov after a series of unsuccessful attempts by Dushanbe to extradite him to Tajikistan. The countries of the world should not be on the sidelines of the Tajik authorities and help them persecute Tajik dissidents and even their relatives outside Tajikistan, as is the case with Saydullo Valiev. Citizens of Tajikistan should not become second-class people also outside their own country. By pursuing Tajik emigrants and flouting their rights outside the country, the Tajik authorities also violate the jurisdiction of other countries and international legal and civilized norms.
The Forum of Tajik Freethinkers

 

Reuters: Tajik opposition, rights group say government threatens activists’ families

ALMATY (Reuters) – Authorities in Tajikistan have threatened to confiscate the property of people linked to opposition activists living in exile, a leading opposition politician said on Friday.

Muhiddin Kabiri, leader of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), said the relatives of at least 10 activists who had taken part in a conference in Germany on July 9 marking the 20th anniversary of a peace accord had been targeted.

The government said it had received no complaints of intimidation.

The mostly Muslim former Soviet republic banned the IRPT in 2015, accusing it of being linked to a failed coup and prompting a number of party leaders and activists, including Kabiri, to leave the country.

The IRPT denies being involved in attempts to topple the government, but, according to Kabiri, its aim is to stop President Imomali Rakhmon passing power to family members.

Human Rights Watch separately said this week that authorities, including police and security officers, visited the relatives of the activists both ahead and after the conference.

“They use them (the relatives of activists) as hostages”, Kabiri said. “Many activists have already given up the fight (because of threats to their relatives).”

His comments echoed those of the New York-based rights group.

”The Tajik government’s vicious campaign of intimidation against dissidents’ relatives is widening and becoming ever more brazen,” Steve Swerdlow, Central Asia researcher for HRW, said.

”The simultaneous actions by security services and local officials across numerous cities suggest a policy of collective punishment sanctioned at the highest levels, which should end immediately.”

The Dortmund conference marked the 20th anniversary of a peace accord which ended a devastating civil war in Tajikistan.

IRPT founders had been among those fighting the government of Rakhmon and later, in 2000, accused him of violating the agreement in order to boost his powers.

Asked whether the authorities were intimidating the relatives of opposition activists, who are wanted in Tajikistan on charges of extremism and terrorism, Tajik Interior Minister Ramazon Rahimzoda said on Friday his ministry had received no such complaints.

“If they have been questioned as witnesses about the whereabouts of their relatives, this does not equal persecution or humiliation,” he said.

Kabiri said there may have been more cases of intimidation which went unreported because the families chose not to tell activists living abroad about them. Kabiri said he had no direct contacts with his own relatives living in Tajikistan.

Reuters

July 21, 2017

Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Additional reporting by Nazarali Pirnazarov in Dushanbe; Editing by Alison Williams

Opendemocracy: “Tajikistan: so close, no matter how far”

From humanitarian aid to desperate refugees, Tajikistan and Europe are more closely connected than you might think. How will international organisations react as Emomali Rahmon’s regime entrenches itself further? RU

 

 

My country is a small, mountainous place on the southern fringe of Central Asia, sharing a 1,400 km long border with restive Afghanistan. Europeans generally know little about where I come from, although it’s regularly received financial and technical assistance from the European Union over 25 years of independence.

I’m talking about Tajikistan, a faraway partner to the west. In my last essay, I told the story of Tajikistan’s brutal, and often forgotten, civil war, which tore our country apart from 1992 to 1997. It led to mass civilian casualties, hundreds of thousands of people fleeing to neighbouring states, and finally the peace accords of 1997, which are now being violated by the regime of president-for-life Emomali Rahmon.

The civil war, alongside the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan by the late 1990s, led to close ties between Tajikistan and various European institutions. Tajikistan is the poorest of all the former Soviet states; according to the World Bank, its GDP per capita last year was a mere $1,022 (£790). Overall, the amount of aid transferred to the country by western organisations over the last 20 years could be as high as €1.5 billion.

The political motivations for European aid to Tajikistan vary: from preventing a post-conflict humanitarian catastrophe to guaranteeing European security in a state that neighbours Afghanistan.

Since 2004, the Tajik capital of Dushanbe has hosted a representative office of the European Commission (which since 2009 has functioned as a plenipotentiary of the European Parliament), dozens of embassies of European states, together with representative offices of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Recent years have seen the introduction and implementation of a multi-year indicative programme for 2014-2020, under the auspices of which the EU has allocated some €251m to Tajikistan. At the same time, the trade turnover between the EU and Tajikistan is now two times lower than it once was. Why does Europe need this distant partner — seemingly so close, yet so far away?

In the name of security

The presence of European institutions in Tajikistan can of course be explained through the prism of security. That’s why the largest OSCE mission in Central Asia is based there, with five field offices and over 200 employees. From the very beginning, officials in Dushanbe were very pleased with this European presence — it helped legitimise a weak government, indirectly helped attract wider financial, humanitarian and technical support, and also allowed the Tajik authorities to manoeuvre between the biggest players in the region: China, Russia, the US, Iran and Uzbekistan.

Relations between the EU and Tajikistan are troubled. Our state media have started openly accusing the EU and OSCE of supporting the opposition

By 2010, these economic and political ties culminated in the ratification of the Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation between the EU and Tajikistan, which had been prepared for as early as 2004. In 2011, Tajikistan received its first credit from the European Investment Bank, and the following year European institutions aided Tajikistan’s entry into the World Trade Organisation. Dushanbe also received the right to export goods to EU member states with lower tariffs and and import duties.

A government armoured column during Tajikistan’s bloody 1992-1997 civil war between supporters of the central authorities and the United Tajik Opposition. Photo (c): R. Mangasaryan / RIA Novosti. All rights reserved.

But in 2012, the Tajik authorities felt strong enough to start sweeping competitors out of the political arena. Opposition parties, independent media outlets, human rights activists, lawyers and civil society actors were all punished for “disloyalty”. The partnership which with western organisations was now on shakier ground.

State media have started openly accusing the EU and OSCE of supporting the opposition. Negotiations on extending the OSCE’s mandate in the country beyond 2017 did not go smoothly, and it soon became crystal clear exactly what Tajikistan’s authoritarian leader wanted in return.

An unavoidable ultimatum

From the end of 2016 until spring this year, the OSCE’s office in Dushanbe awaited a decision on the continuation of its work in Tajikistan. In early March, the Tajik authorities gave the green light on extending the mandate — but only for six months. At the same time, there were already rumours afoot that the eventual downgrading of the OSCE mission in Tajikistan was being discussed in government circles in Dushanbe.

The decision in March was taken unilaterally by Tajikistan’s 65-year old president Emomali Rahmon, a former collective farm chairman who has ruled the country for 24 years. Ironically, Rahmon benefited the most from the presence of the OSCE and other European organisations in the country — they helped broker the 1997 peace accords which kept him in power after the civil war. The outbreak of peace helped Rahmon cement power, instituting a cult of personality and dictatorial regime on a nearly North Korean scale, ruthlessly crushing any sign of dissent.

This is Rahmon’s ultimatum — he is prepared to work closely with the EU and other European institutions in exchange for refusing to protect basic human rights and liberties

President Rahmon and his security services, which have also received financial and technical assistance from the west, staged a protest on 19 May last year outside the EU’s representative office in Dushanbe. That same autumn, more aggressive protests occurred outside the embassies of a number of European countries. For example, in September 2016, a group of “outraged young people” burnt portraits of Tajik opposition leaders outside the gates of the OSCEin the capital. They then attempted to break into the compound (Russian link).

Emomali Rahmon and Catherine Ashton, the European Commission’s high commissioner for foreign affairs meet in Dushanbe, 2012. Photo CC: European External Action Service / Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Then, in October 2016, the public council of Tajikistan’s presidential administration spoke out, in finest Soviet tradition, “in the names of and on the request of” 60 civic organisations, issuing a “condemnation of the OSCE’s activities.” The declaration was signed by representatives of six pro-government puppet parties, all of whom had taken part in programmes run and financed by the OSCE’s social partnership.

As the declaration makes clear, the Tajik authorities were enraged by the presence of Tajik human rights defenders, journalists and refugees at the OSCE’s Human Dimension Implementation Meeting held in Warsaw in September 2016. Among their number were several relatives of political prisoners behind bars in Tajikistan. Little wonder that Dushanbe then refused to take part in the OSCE’s regional conference on criminal justice several weeks later.

These events reflect Rahmon’s ultimatum — he is prepared to work closely with the EU and other European institutions in exchange for refusing to protect basic human rights and liberties. He’ll accept financing for reforms, without guaranteeing to carry them out. This is all despite the fact that the activities of the EU’s representative office in Tajikistan are based on the 2015-2019 action plan for supporting human rights and democracy, 2012’s EU strategic framework on human rights and democracy, and the EU-Central Asia strategy for a new partnership. And as Tajikistan’s government violates the human rights of its citizens with abandon, the EU now faces the challenge of defending them within its own borders.

New refugees

In recent years, Tajiks fleeing persecution have started to seek safety in EU member states. Although they are many in asylum seekers’ camps in Austria, German, and Poland, their stories rarely make it into the European press, eternally indignant about the “tide of migrants”. No official Europe-wide statistics on their numbers exist, but there are national data. Poland alone recorded around 1,300 Tajik refugees in the country in 2016 alone. Various estimates place their number across Europe at between three and five thousand.

Activists of Tajikistan’s outlawed Islamic Renaissance Party believe that roughly the same number are spread throughout Belarus, Turkey and Ukraine. Due to the significant number of Tajik labour migrants in Russia (who number anywhere from 800,000 to 1.5 million), nobody knows how many political refugees may be living there, though it is hardly a safe destination for them. Their road to the EU, and to safety, lies through Belarus.

For several years now Tajik dissidents have been fleeing west, seeking security in the EU. This small but steady flow won’t stop any time soon

The authorities in Tajikistan had started attacking dissidents and oppositionists in earnest in 2003-2005, to the deafening silence of European institutions. Few Europeans paid attention to the arrest of former interior minister of Tajikistan and founder of the Republican Party, Yaqub Salimov, in Moscow in 2003 at the request of the Tajik authorities. Two years later, when the exiled chairman of the Democratic Party of Tajikistan was kidnapped in Moscow and sent back to Dushanbe, the international community was also silent.

Just before presidential elections in 2006, European institutions confined their criticisms to voicing concern about the closure of opposition publications such as Ruzi NavOdamu Olam, and Nerui Sukhan. These declarations, as well as a demand of the European Court of Human Rights to “restore justice” to Tajikistan’s media landscape, were ignored by the authorities.

Tajik opposition activists protest against political repression in their homeland outside the OSCE’s Human Dimension Implementation Summit in Warsaw, 2016. Photo: Group24. All rights reserved.

This situation repeated on the eve of presidential elections in 2013. Constitutional amendments made in 2003, opposed by Salimov and Iskandarov, allowed Rahmon to run as a candidate (of course, he won). Attempts by the famous dissident and journalist Dodojon Atovulloyev to unite oppositionists behind one candidate during these elections resulted in an attempt on his life in Moscow in January 2012. Atovulloyev miraculously survived and fled to Germany.

This relentless campaign against the opposition culminated in the banning of the country’s most potent opposition force, the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), in 2015. A leak recently emerged on the Russian-language internet of an allegedly official document known as Protocol 32/20, which mandates Tajikistan’s security services to destroy all remnants of the party (Russian link). Although the authorities have refused to acknowledge the existence of the protocol, state television continues to present the ban against the IRPT as necessary, accusing the party of “threatening peace.”

Tajikistan’s state media have also broadcast a number of secretly-recorded pornographic videos featuring spiritual leaders denounced by the authorities as Islamists and members of the IRPT. In a sarcastic nod to the party, the series has been named “Nuri Nahzat” (“light of the renaissance” in Tajik). Neither the interior ministry nor the state committee for national security have denied nor even hidden their involvement in producing these video clips.

On 24 June 2012, a riot broke out involving high-ranking, criminal officials of the security services in Khorog, the capital of the mountainous Gorno-Badakhshan autonomous region in the east of the country. In response, the army launched an assault on the town in an apparent attempt to get rid of the region’s remaining opposition leaders. Locals took up arms in response, and it was only after the intervention of the Aga Khan (the spiritual leader of the Shi’a Isma’ilis, the confessional group to which many in Badakhshan belong) that the bloodshed ended.

Imumnazar Imumnazarov, a disabled local opposition leader, was killed in his own home, as were several civilians. It later transpired, during the presentation of the report on Tajikistan before the UN’s committee for human rights, that 23 civilians were killed during the assault on Khorog, alongside 18 soldiers and state employees. Experts described the events as an act of intimidation against the disgruntled civilian population (Russian links).

The arrests continued. In May 2013, chairman of the New Tajikistan Party, Zaid Saidov, was arrested and sentenced to 26 years’ imprisonment, being suspected of presidential ambitions. Local media believed all the charges against him to be falsified (Tajik link). Meanwhile, the leader of the Group 24 opposition force Umarali Quvvatov was labelled “insane” by the authorities, who urged Interpol to issue a warrant for his arrest. In March 2015, Quvvatov was shot dead in the streets of Istanbul in front of his wife and children. The murder was never solved.

An activist from Group 24 gives a speech on camera beside the grave of the movement’s assassinated leader Umarali Kuvvatov in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo CC: YouTube / Group24. Some rights reserved.

The IRPT continues to suffer. From September to October 2015, some 12 members of its political council were handed long jail sentences (two were imprisoned for life). The party’s leader Muhiddin Kabiri fled to the EU, where he received political asylum. Even lawyers have faced repercussions for working with victims of political persecution; among them Buzurgmekhr Yorov, who defended imprisoned IRPT party members and their relatives. The lawyer was sentenced to 25 years behind bars on trumped-up charges.

The prospect of abduction and disappearance haunt political exiles from Tajikistan. An activist for the Youth for the Rebirth of Tajikistan movement, Maksud Ibragimov, was abducted in Russia and sentenced to 17 years’ imprisonment upon his forced repatriation to Tajikistan. The fate of the young opposition activist and blogger Ehson Odinayev, who disappeared in St Petersburg in 2015, remains a mystery (Russian link).

The authorities’ new approach to troublesome dissidents who have done a runner is now to target their families in Tajikistan

Tajikistan’s regime has started blocking local and international websites, at times including YouTube and Facebook. Last November saw the closure of the independent information agency TojNews, as well as the independent newspapers Ozodagon and Nigoh. According to Reporters without Borders, the Tajik government took five steps in 2016 alone explicitly aimed at restricting freedom of speech in the country.

And even those who do get away may have put their relatives in danger. Many human rights activists stress that the authorities’ new approach to troublesome dissidents who have done a runner is to target their families in Tajikistan. This includes attacks against their homes, as well as discrimination in allocating housing, at study and at work. These events compelled the European Parliament to pass a resolution “on the situation of prisoners of conscience in Tajikistan” on 9 June 2016.

The dear leader and his dear successor

After 25 years of Emomali Rahmon’s rule, over 2.5m of the 8.5m-strong population live below the poverty line, and 1.5m of the 3.9m economically active Tajiks are labour migrants in Russia or Kazakhstan, where they do not enjoy basic rights. Until recently, remittances from this group constituted up to 46% of Tajikistan’s entire GNP.

Other sectors of the country’s economy, from metallurgy to mining, transport to energy infrastructure and cotton to the banking sector, either directly belong to Rahmon or are controlled by his close allies and family members. Tajikistan’s public services are, relative to income, some of the most expensive in the world — getting accredited for a driving licence alone costs €80.

Politics are even bleaker. It’s generally accepted that Tajikistan has not held elections which meet international standards of transparency since 1994. There is no freedom of speech nor assembly. Independent media are suppressed, if not entirely liquidated, and human rights advocacy amounts to treason. Criticism or any “disrespect” towards the Leader of the Nation can land you with a five-year jail sentence.

Products for sale at Dushanbe’s Green Market, 2013. Photo (c): Alexey Kudenko / RIA Novosti. All rights reserved.

Amidst all this, Emomali Rahmon passed amendments to the constitution last May which enable him to run for as many presidential terms as he pleases. These changes also allow his older son, 29 year-old Rustami Emomali, who holds the rank of general but has not served a day in uniform, to run for president in 2018. The president’s son has already held two ministerial positions – chairman of the state committee on customs and, ludicrously, director of Tajikistan’s anti-corruption agency. More recently, Rahmon nominated his son as mayor of Dushanbe, dismissing his long-time ally Mahmadsaid Ubaidulloyev.

Constitutional amendments also guarantee immunity to Rahmon and all the members of his extended family, from his seven daughters and their husbands (and their parents) to his two sons and brother Nuriddin Rahmonov. “The family” or “Oila” as they are known in Tajik, control every sphere of Tajikistan’s economy and hold the highest political posts.

Authoritarian regimes in Central Asia are not isolated Khanates, but are deeply integrated into international legal and financial systems

Many commentators in the west portray authoritarian regimes in Central Asia as isolated Khanates, repressive and insular by virtue of their supposed isolation from the modern world. Yet dictators and those near and dear to them have long used European financial and judicial systems to entrench their positions at home and access institutes and influential networks abroad, providing them with both international legal recourse and symbolic capital.

The “Oila” is no exception. Rahmon and the system he has built is an inextricable part of the relations between Tajikistan and EU member states. With that in mind, what more can we wish from Europe?

Perhaps, all we can do is wish European partners better luck, and a better relationship, in working with Tajikistan’s next Dear Leader, representing a bright new generation of autocrats in Dushanbe.

opendemocracy

BAKHTIYOR SOBIRI 

7 July 2017

“TADSCHIKISTAN 2017” – Amnesty International

Die Handlungsspielräume für friedliche Kritiker wurden immer enger. Die Behörden verwiesen auf die nationale Sicherheit und den Antiterrorkampf, um zunehmend härtere Beschränkungen der Rechte auf Meinungs- und Vereinigungsfreiheit zu rechtfertigen. Mitglieder der verbotenen Oppositionspartei Islamische Partei der Wiedergeburt Tadschikistans (IRPT) wurden nach Anklagen wegen Terrorismus in extrem unfairen Geheimverfahren zu langen bzw. lebenslangen Haftstrafen verurteilt. Vorwürfe, sie seien gefoltert worden, um “Geständnisse” zu erzwingen, wurden nicht wirksam und unparteiisch untersucht. Rechtsanwälte, die IRPT-Mitglieder vertraten, mussten mit Schikanen, willkürlicher Inhaftierung, strafrechtlicher Verfolgung und langen Haftstrafen aufgrund politisch motivierter Vorwürfe rechnen.

HINTERGRUND

Bei einem Referendum im Mai 2016 wurden umfassende Änderungen der Verfassung angenommen. Dabei wurde u. a. die Begrenzung der Amtszeit des Staatspräsidenten abgeschafft, wodurch es Präsident Emomalii Rachmon nun möglich ist, über die nächsten Wahlen hinaus im Amt zu bleiben. Zudem wurden auf Religion und Atheismus basierende politische Parteien verboten. Im November 2016 wurde “Beleidigung des Staatsführers” zum Straftatbestand erklärt.

Mindestens 170 Personen, die beschuldigt wurden, an bewaffneten Zusammenstößen zwischen Regierungstruppen und bewaffneten Gruppen in der Hauptstadt Duschanbe im September 2015 beteiligt gewesen zu sein, wurden strafrechtlich verfolgt, schuldig gesprochen und zu Gefängnisstrafen verurteilt. Nach Ansicht der Behörden hatte es sich dabei um einen Umsturzversuch des ehemaligen stellvertretenden Verteidigungsministers Abdukhalim Nazarzoda gehandelt. Aufgrund der nahezu lückenlosen staatlichen Kontrolle der Medienberichterstattung hatte die Öffentlichkeit so gut wie keine Möglichkeit, die offizielle Darstellung unabhängig zu überprüfen. Dies nährte wiederum Vorbehalte hinsichtlich der Strafverfolgungsmaßnahmen.

Im Exil lebende Mitglieder der verbotenen Oppositionspartei IRPT sowie Vertreter der oppositionellen Gruppe 24 besuchten im September 2016 das alljährliche OSZE-Implementierungstreffen der menschlichen Dimension in der polnischen Hauptstadt Warschau und hielten dort eine Mahnwache ab. Es gab Berichte darüber, dass Polizei und Sicherheitskräfte als Vergeltung für diesen friedlichen Protest in Warschau Familienangehörige der Protestierenden in Tadschikistan bedrohten, willkürlich inhaftierten, verhörten und in einigen Fällen körperlich attackierten. Die Regierungsdelegation verließ die Konferenz vorzeitig, um dagegen zu protestieren, dass neben anderen Vertretern der Zivilgesellschaft auch eine “in Tadschikistan verbotene Terrororganisation” zugelassen worden war.

UNFAIRE GERICHTSVERFAHREN

Die Behörden bestritten vehement, dass 14 führende IRPT-Mitglieder wegen ihrer mutmaßlichen Beteiligung an den bewaffneten Zusammenstößen im September 2015 Opfer politisch motivierter Strafverfolgung, unfairer Gerichtsverfahren sowie von Folter und anderen Misshandlungen wurden. Das Verfahren gegen die IRPT-Mitglieder vor dem Obersten Gericht begann im Februar 2016 und fand in der Untersuchungshafteinrichtung des Staatsausschusses für Nationale Sicherheit im Geheimen statt. Im Juni 2016 wurden alle Angeklagten schuldig gesprochen. Die beiden stellvertretenden IRPT-Vorsitzenden Umarali Khisainov (auch bekannt unter dem Namen Saidumur Khusaini) und Makhmadali Khaitov (Mukhammadalii Hait) erhielten lebenslange Haftstrafen. Zarafo Khujaeva (Rakhmoni), die zu zwei Jahren Gefängnis verurteilt wurde, kam am 5. September 2016 nach einer Begnadigung durch den Präsidenten frei. Die übrigen Angeklagten erhielten Haftstrafen zwischen 14 und 28 Jahren.

Die zunächst spärlichen offiziellen Informationen über die Strafverfolgung der IRPT-Mitglieder, wie z. B. die Anklagepunkte, waren bereits 2015 aus offiziellen Quellen, wie den Webseiten der Generalstaatsanwaltschaft und der staatlichen Nachrichtenagentur Khovar, entfernt worden. Jegliche weiteren Informationen wurden unterdrückt. Die Rechtsbeistände der Angeklagten mussten eine Geheimhaltungsvereinbarung in Bezug auf sämtliche Einzelheiten des Falls und des Verfahrens unterzeichnen. Das Urteil und die offiziellen Unterlagen des Gerichtsverfahrens wurden nicht veröffentlicht. Im August 2016 tauchte im Internet eine Kopie des Urteils aus anonymer Quelle auf. Die Generalstaatsanwaltschaft lehnte es ab, sich zur Echtheit des Dokuments zu äußern, die mutmaßliche Quelle wurde dennoch strafrechtlich verfolgt (siehe unten).

Im März 2016 äußerte sich der UN-Sonderberichterstatter über Meinungsfreiheit besorgt darüber, dass “die gegen die IRPT ergriffenen drastischen Maßnahmen einen ernsten Rückschritt für ein offenes politisches Klima bedeuten”. Er bemängelte, dass die Regierung die IRPT und deren Mitglieder schwerer Verbrechen beschuldige, es jedoch ablehne, der Öffentlichkeit den Zugang zum Verfahren und zur Beweislage zu gewähren.

VERFOLGUNG VON STRAFVERTEIDIGERN

Anwälte, die an der Verteidigung der 14 IRPT-Mitglieder beteiligt waren, wurden schikaniert, eingeschüchtert und in einigen Fällen willkürlich festgenommen und strafrechtlich verfolgt. Im Oktober 2016 verurteilte das Stadtgericht Duschanbe die beiden Anwälte Buzurgmekhr Yorov und Nuriddin Makhkamov, die mehrere angeklagte IRPT-Mitglieder vertraten, in einem unfairen Gerichtsverfahren zu 23 bzw. 21 Jahren Haft. Abgesehen von der ersten gerichtlichen Anhörung im Mai 2016 waren die Medien und die Öffentlichkeit von sämtlichen Sitzungen ausgeschlossen. Beide Anwälte wurden schuldig gesprochen, weil sie “zu nationaler, rassischer, lokaler oder religiöser Feindseligkeit angestachelt”, Betrug verübt und “öffentlich zum gewaltsamen Umsturz der verfassungsmäßigen Ordnung der Republik Tadschikistan” sowie “zu extremistischen Taten” aufgerufen hätten. Buzurgmekhr Yorov wurde überdies der Fälschung für schuldig befunden. Buzurgmekhr Yorov und Nuriddin Makhkamov bestritten jegliche Straftat und legten Rechtsmittel ein, über die Ende 2016 noch nicht entschieden worden war. Sollten die Schuldsprüche nicht vollständig aufgehoben werden, könnten die beiden nach ihrer Freilassung nie wieder als Anwälte arbeiten.

Am 22. August 2016 wurde Buzurgmekhr Yorovs Bruder Jamshed Yorov, der ebenfalls als Strafverteidiger im IRPT-Verfahren tätig war, wegen “Verbreitung von Staatsgeheimnissen” festgenommen. Man warf ihm vor, das Urteil des Obersten Gerichts im IRPT-Verfahren unerlaubt veröffentlicht zu haben. Am 30. September kam er wieder frei.

Am 12. Dezember 2016 begann in der Untersuchungshafteinrichtung Nr. 1 in Duschanbe ein zweiter Prozess gegen Buzurgmekhr Yorov, in dem man ihn beschuldigte, in seinem Schlussplädoyer vor dem Stadtgericht Duschanbe das Gericht missachtet sowie Regierungsvertreter beleidigt zu haben.

FOLTER UND ANDERE MISSHANDLUNGEN

Im Mai 2016 wurden die gesetzlichen Regelungen zum Schutz von Inhaftierten gegen Folter und andere Misshandlungen verbessert. Die maximal zulässige Zeit, die eine Person ohne Anklage in Haft gehalten werden kann, wurde auf drei Tage verkürzt, als Haftbeginn gilt künftig der Moment, in dem der Freiheitsentzug tatsächlich beginnt. Der Inhaftierte hat vom Augenblick des Freiheitsentzugs an das Recht auf vertraulichen Zugang zu einem Anwalt, und Verdächtige müssen vor einer zeitweisen Inhaftierung medizinisch untersucht werden.

Nach wie vor gab es keine unabhängigen Organe, um Folter und andere Misshandlungen zu untersuchen. Die NGO Koalition gegen Folter registrierte 60 Beschwerden wegen Folter, ging jedoch davon aus, dass die tatsächliche Zahl der Fälle wesentlich höher lag.

Im September 2016 nahm der UN-Menschenrechtsrat das Ergebnis der Allgemeinen Regelmäßigen Überprüfung Tadschikistans an. Die Regierung lehnte die Empfehlung ab, das Fakultativprotokoll zum Übereinkommen gegen Folter und andere grausame, unmenschliche oder erniedrigende Behandlung oder Strafe zu ratifizieren und einen nationalen Mechanismus zur Verhütung von Folter einzurichten. Sie akzeptierte allerdings die Empfehlung, das zweite Fakultativprotokoll zum Internationalen Pakt über bürgerliche und politische Rechte zu ratifizieren und die Todesstrafe ganz abzuschaffen.

RECHT AUF VEREINIGUNGSFREIHEIT

Das Justizministerium legte 2016 vorläufige Bestimmungen für die Umsetzung des geänderten Gesetzes über öffentliche Vereinigungen vor, das NGOs dazu verpflichtet, jegliche finanzielle Zuwendung aus dem Ausland zu melden. In den Umsetzungsbestimmungen wurde jedoch weder ein Zeitraum festgelegt, in dem die Behörde darüber entschieden haben muss, noch wurde festgelegt, ob das Geld vor der offiziellen Genehmigung verwendet werden darf. Die Bestimmungen sahen außerdem vor, dass Inspektionen von NGOs nur einmal innerhalb von zwei Jahren erfolgen sollen, allerdings gab es in Bezug auf diese Regel und die Gründe für Inspektionen einen großen Ermessensspielraum.

Das vom Steuerausschuss angestrengte Liquidationsverfahren gegen die etablierte Organisation Nota Bene, die sich für Demokratie und Menschenrechte einsetzt, wurde im Januar 2016 von einem Bezirksgericht zurückgewiesen.

RECHT AUF FREIE MEINUNGSÄUßERUNG

Die Behörden verhängten 2016 weitere Einschränkungen gegen die Medien und begrenzten den Zugang zu unabhängiger Information noch stärker. Ein fünf Jahre gültiges Dekret der Regierung vom August 2016 gab dem Staatlichen Rundfunkausschuss das Recht, die Inhalte sämtlicher Fernseh- und Radiosendungen “zu regulieren und zu kontrollieren”.

Unabhängige Medienunternehmen und einzelne Journalisten wurden durch Polizei und Sicherheitsdienste eingeschüchtert und schikaniert, wenn sie über das IRPT-Verfahren und andere politisch heikle Themen berichteten. Einige sahen sich gezwungen, das Land zu verlassen. Im November 2016 kündigten die unabhängige Tageszeitung Nigoh sowie die unabhängige Internetseite Tojnews ihre Schließung an, da “die Bedingungen für unabhängige Medien und freien Journalismus nicht mehr gegeben sind”. Nigoh hatte über das Verfahren gegen den Anwalt Buzurgmekhr Yorov berichtet.

Die Behörden wiesen Internetprovider nach wie vor an, den Zugang zu bestimmten Nachrichtenportalen und sozialen Medien zu blockieren, bestritten dies jedoch öffentlich. Personen und Gruppen, die von den Maßnahmen betroffen waren, konnten diese nicht wirksam vor Gericht anfechten. Eine Verordnung der Regierung verpflichtete Internetprovider und Telekommunikationsunternehmen dazu, ihre Dienste ausschließlich über ein neues zentrales Kommunikationszentrum der staatseigenen Firma Tajiktelecom zur Verfügung zu stellen. Im März 2016 stellte der UN-Sonderberichterstatter über Meinungsfreiheit mit Besorgnis fest, dass die umfassende Blockade von Internetseiten und Netzwerken, darunter auch Mobilfunkdienste, unverhältnismäßig und mit internationalen Standards nicht vereinbar sei.

RECHTE AUF WASSER UND SANITÄRVERSORGUNG

Im Juli 2016 veröffentlichte der UN-Sonderberichterstatter über das Menschenrecht auf einwandfreies Trinkwasser und Sanitärversorgung seinen Bericht über Tadschikistan. Darin hieß es, dass nahezu 40 % der Bevölkerung und fast die Hälfte der ländlichen Bevölkerung auf Wasserquellen zurückgriff, die oft unzureichend waren oder nicht den Qualitätsmaßstäben für Trinkwasser entsprachen. Er stellte fest, dass dies eine erhebliche Belastung für Frauen und Kinder bedeutete, die zum Teil vier bis sechs Stunden täglich mit Wasserholen beschäftigt waren. Der Sonderberichterstatter wies außerdem darauf hin, dass sich der Mangel an Wasser und sanitären Anlagen insbesondere in öffentlichen Institutionen unmittelbar negativ auf andere Rechte auswirke, wie etwa die Rechte auf Gesundheit, Bildung, Arbeit und Leben. Er drängte die Regierung, für einen gleichberechtigten Zugang zu Wasser und sanitären Anlagen zu sorgen und sich der Bedürfnisse besonders schutzbedürftiger Gruppen anzunehmen, darunter Frauen und Mädchen in ländlichen Regionen, umgesiedelte Personen, Flüchtlinge, Asylsuchende und Staatenlose.

Die Regierung akzeptierte die im Rahmen der Allgemeinen Regelmäßigen Überprüfung erteilte Empfehlung, den Zugang zu sicherem Trinkwasser zu verbessern, lehnte jedoch die Empfehlung ab, das Fakultativprotokoll zum Internationalen Pakt über wirtschaftliche, soziale und kulturelle Rechte zu ratifizieren.

Amnesty International

2017

Amnesty International: “Tajikistan: A year of secrecy, growing fears and deepening injustice”

A year on from the arrest of 14 high-ranking members of the opposition Islamic
Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), in September 2015, Tajikistan’s human rights
landscape has worsened dramatically. They were all convicted following an unfair trial and
sentenced to long-term imprisonment; scores of other individuals have since been
criminally prosecuted in connection with the same events. Information relating to their
prosecution is extremely sparse and patchy, and points to numerous human rights
violations.

The prosecution of the 14 high-ranking IRPT members is linked to the violent unrest of
September 2015 which the authorities reported as an armed attempt by the former
Tajikistani Deputy Defence Minister Abdukhalim Nazarzoda and his supporters to seize
power.

Due to the authorities’ near-total grip on news reporting in the country, there has
been very little independent public scrutiny of the official account of these events.
Virtually all vestiges of peaceful dissent have been suppressed in Tajikistan, and fear of
reprisals for any form of criticism of the authorities has permeated Tajikistani society. In
this context, discussing these events, and particularly their fallout in human rights terms,
has become a taboo subject within the country.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
PUBLIC STATEMENT

19 September 2016

See full text:  https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/eur60/4855/2016/en/