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HomeDefenceUN, Special Rapporteur Mary Lawlor Call Again on Tajikistan to Release Journalists

UN, Special Rapporteur Mary Lawlor Call Again on Tajikistan to Release Journalists

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Berlin (06/11 – 58)

UN Special Rapporteur of Human Rights Defenders, Mary Lawlor, has once again called on the authorities of Tajikistan to release imprisoned Tajik journalists and bloggers.

Mary Lawlor posted on her social media account, formerly Twitter, that during a meeting with Tajikistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Jonibek Hikmat, in New York on October 24, she reiterated her call for the Tajik authorities to release the convicted human rights defenders and journalists, including Daler Imomali, Abdullo Gurbati, and Ulfatkhonim Mamadshoeva.

Last year, in Tajikistan, eight journalists and bloggers were sentenced to various prison terms, ranging from 7 to 21 years. Four of them, Daler Imomali, Abdullo Gurbati, Abdusattor Pirmukhammadzoda, and Zavkibek Saidamini, were found guilty of collaborating with banned organizations. The journalists and their families have denied the allegations. Some of the convicted journalists claimed to have been subjected to torture in detention.

Tajikistan sentenced eight journalists and bloggers to various prison terms, ranging from 7 to 21 years. Four of them, Daler Imomali, Abdullo Gurbati, Abdusattor Pirmukhammadzoda, and Zavkibek Saidamini, were found guilty of collaborating with banned organizations.

Ulfatkhonim Mamadshoeva was arrested following the events of May 2022 in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO) and was sentenced to 21 years in early December 2022. The Tajik authorities accused Ulfatkhonim Mamadshoeva of organizing mass disturbances in the Rushan district and the city of Khorog in May 2022. Supporters of Mamadshoeva consider the criminal case to be fabricated.

In September of this year, eight UN experts stated that they were awaiting a response from the Tajik authorities to a letter expressing concern about the fate of imprisoned journalists and civil activists. In their 20-page letter, they noted that the rights of detained journalists and activists were grossly violated from the time of their arrest to the trial.

In a letter signed, among others, by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor, and the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Alice Jill Edwards, cases of torture and cruel treatment of detainees were cited. UN experts stated that the arbitrary arrests of some of the convicted individuals contradict the laws of Tajikistan and international law. They criticized the Tajik authorities for imprisoning detained journalists and bloggers on fabricated charges of extremism and collaboration with banned organizations. The actions of the Tajik authorities serve as a stern warning to other human rights defenders: criticism will be met with harsh punishment, as stated in the letter.

The Tajik government has faced criticism in recent years from the UN, Western countries, and international human rights organizations for regular human rights violations in the country.

Source : Radio Liberty

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