Tajikistan: Mr. Khayrullo Mirsaidov sentenced to 12 years in high-security penal colony

16/07/2018
Urgent Appeal

TJK 001 / 0718 / OBS 094
Sentencing /
Arbitrary detention
Tajikistan
July 16, 2018

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Tajikistan.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arbitrary detention and sentencing of Mr. Khayrullo Mirsaidov, a journalist covering issues related to human rights, the environment and national minorities. Prior to his arrest he had reported about the corruption of local authorities in Tajikistan.

According to the information received, on July 11, 2018, Mr. Khayrullo Mirsaidov was sentenced to 12 years in high-security penal colony. The Court of Khujand found Mr. Khayrullo Mirsaidov guilty of “embezzlement of public funds” (Article 245.4 of the Criminal Code of Tajikistan), “forgery of documents” (Article 340.1) and “dissemination of false information” (Article 346.2). Mr. Khayrullo Mirsaidov will appeal the sentence.

On December 5, 2017, Mr. Khayrullo Mirsaidov was summoned to the Prosecution Office of Sgod Province, where he was immediately arrested. Criminal charges were filed against him on December 8, 2017, allegedly on the basis of four articles and a public letter he had published and in which he reported on the newly appointed head of the Sogd Province’s Department of Youth and Sports, saying that the latter had extorted him a bribe of approximatively 1,000 Euros. The Head of the Sogd Province’s Department of Youth and Sports subsequently accused Mr. Mirsaidov to have embezzled the funds. As of publication of this Urgent Appeal, he remained detained at the pre-trial detention centre of Khujand, where he has been detained since his arrest and where is allowed to see his family members once a month.

On July 11, 2018, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media“expressed his concern about [this] excessive sentence”.

The Observatory condemns Mr. Khayrullo Mirsaidov’s sentence and arbitrary detention, which seem aimed at hindering his peaceful and legitimate human rights work, in particular for denouncing the corruption of local Tajik authorities.

The Observatory urges the authorities in Tajikistan to immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Khayrullo Mirsaidov and to put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against him as well as all human rights defenders in Tajikistan.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in Tajikistan asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Khayrullo Mirsaidov as well as of all human rights defenders in Tajikistan;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Khayrullo Mirsaidov, as his detention is arbitrary since it only aims at punishing him for his legitimate human rights activities;

iii. Put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Khayrullo Mirsaidov and all human rights defenders in Tajikistan so they are able to carry out their work without unjustified hindrance and fear of reprisal;

iv. Comply in all circumstances with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular its Articles 1 and 12.2;

v. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and instruments.

Addresses:

· President of the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Mr. Enomali Rahmmon, Fax: +992 372 21 68 00. Email: mail@president.tj
· Minister of Justice of Tajikistan, Mr. Shohmurod Rustam, Fax: +992 37 221 80 66. E-mail: ijozattj@mail.ru
· Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan, Mr. Sirodjidin Aslov, Fax: +992 372 21 02 59. Email: info@mfa.tj
· Minister of Internal Affairs of Tajikistan, Mr. Ramazon Rahimov, Fax: +992 372 21 26 48
· Ombudsperson, Zarif Alizoda, Fax: +992 372 21 79 69, Email: info@ombudsman.tj
· General Prosecutor Salimzoda Sherkhoni Odina, Fax: +992 372 21 02 59. Email: info@mfa.tj
· Chairman, State Committee for National Security, Saimymin Yatimov, Ministry of Security of Tajikistan. Fax: +992 372 21 23 12
· Permanent Mission of the Republic of Tajikistan to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22 734 11 58, Email: tajikistanmission@bluewin.ch
· Embassy of the Republic of Tajikistan in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 649 01 95, Email: taj-emb@edpnet.be

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Tajikistan in your respective countries.

***
Paris-Geneva, July 16, 2018

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, an FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of human rights defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
Tel and fax FIDH: +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / 01 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax OMCT: + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

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