Annual Report: Tajikistan 2010

May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Tajikistan 2010

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  • In February, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal by the Jehovah's Witnesses against their ban, declared by the government in October 2007.
  • The authorities continued to close, confiscate and destroy Muslim and Christian places of worship, without explanation. In April, the Higher Economic Court rejected an appeal by the Grace Sunmin Church against the confiscation of their place of worship in the capital, Dushanbe. Compensation offered was insufficient to build another church.
  • In August, the Supreme Court sentenced five members of Jamaat-ut Tabligh to between three and six years' imprisonment for "public appeals to overthrow the constitutional order". The Court claimed that the sentences were based on a 2006 alleged ban of the group as an "extremist and terrorist organization", but provided no evidence of such a ban, whose existence was disputed. The accused rejected the charges, insisting that they had no political agenda and that the movement's activities were based on the values of Sunni Islam's Hanafi school, the majority religion in Tajikistan.

Torture and ill-treatment

Reports of torture and ill-treatment by law enforcement officials continued, in particular to extract confessions in police detention during the first 72 hours, the maximum period suspects could be held without charge.

  • On 27 June, Khurshed Bobokalonov, a specialist at the Tajikistani Oncology Centre, died after being arrested by the police. He had been walking along the street when police stopped him and accused him of being drunk. He protested, and some 15 policemen bundled him into a police car. The Ministry of the Interior claimed that he died of a heart attack on the way to the police station. His mother reported injuries on her son's face and body, and on 22 July the Minister of the Interior announced an investigation into possible "death through negligence". There was no public information about the progress of the investigation by the end of the year.

Freedom of expression - journalists

Independent newspapers and journalists continued to face criminal and civil law suits for criticizing the government, resulting in self-censorship of the media. In October, the government introduced a new decree obliging journalists to request, in writing, information such as laws, policies and government statements, and pay a fee of 25 Somoni (around US$4.50) per page. The Tajikistani National Alliance of Independent Media said the decree violated the Constitution's guarantee of free access to information.

Amnesty International visit/reports

Amnesty International representatives visited Tajikistan in July.

Violence is not just a family matter: Women face abuse in Tajikistan (24 November 2009)
Women and girls in Tajikistan: Facing violence, discrimination and poverty (24 November 2009)
Remove barriers to girls' education in Tajikistan (25 November 2009)