Tajikistan: Sentencing of Mr. Sukhrat Kudratov

23/01/2015
Urgent Appeal

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources of the sentencing of Mr. Sukhrat Kudratov, a human rights lawyer known for his work defending opposition activists, victims of police torture, and those accused of ’religious extremism’, lawyer for the independent news agency “Asia-Plus”, and Deputy Director of the opposition Social Democratic Party. Mr. Kudratov was also the winner of the local Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law’s Human Rights Defender of Tajikistan award in 2011.

TJK 001 / 0115 / OBS 003
Arbitrary detention /
Sentencing / Judicial Harassment
Tajikistan
January 23, 2015

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

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources of the sentencing of Mr. Sukhrat Kudratov, a human rights lawyer known for his work defending opposition activists, victims of police torture, and those accused of ’religious extremism’, lawyer for the independent news agency “Asia-Plus”, and Deputy Director of the opposition Social Democratic Party. Mr. Kudratov was also the winner of the local Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law’s Human Rights Defender of Tajikistan award in 2011.

According to the information received, on January 13, 2015, a court of the Capital City of Dushanbe sentenced Mr. Sukhrat Kudratov to nine years in a penal colony for bribery and fraud. Mr. Kudratov was under pre-trial detention since his arrest on July 21, 2014, when he was arrested in his office and charged with three criminal offences, including attempted bribery of a judge. He will appeal the sentence.

The Observatory fears that Mr. Kudratov is being targeted solely for exercising his legitimate human rights activities and notably for defending Mr. Zaid Saidov, an opposition activist and former Minister of Justice, who was arrested in November 2013 after announcing the creation of a new opposition party in the run up to the December 2013 presidential elections.

In addition, it is to be noted that Mr. Kudratov is the second of Mr. Zaid Saidov’s lawyers to be detained. In March 7, 2014, Mr. Fakhriddin Zokirov, another lawyer defending Mr. Saidov, was arrested on forgery charges. He was released after eight months under the condition that he would no longer defend Mr. Saidov.

After these events, on July 15, 2014, Mr. Kudratov issued a public letter addressed to foreign parliaments, governments, embassies and international human rights organisations drawing their attention to the human rights violations committed at the occasion of the Zaid Saidov trial and on the ongoing persecution of Mr. Saidov’s legal team. Six days later, he was arrested.

The Observatory strongly condemns Mr. Kudratov’s arbitrary detention and sentencing, which are considered as measures of retaliation for his legitimate human rights activities and calls upon Tajikistan’s authorities to drop all charges against him and immediately and unconditionally release him.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Tajikistan, urging them to:

i. Release Mr. Sukhrat Kudratov immediately and unconditionally, since his detention is arbitrary as it only seems aimed at sanctioning his human rights activities.

ii. Put an end to any act of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Sukhrat Kudratov as well as against all human rights defenders in Tajikistan so that they are able to carry out their work without hindrances;

iii. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially:

- its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”;
- its Article 6 (c) which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others to study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters” ;
- and its Article 12.2 which states that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”.

iv. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Tajikistan.

Addresses:

· President of the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Mr. Enomali Rahmmon, Rudaki avenue, 80, 734023 g. Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Tel: +992 372 21 68 00. Fax: +992 372 21 68 00.Email: mail@president.tj
· Prime Minister, Mr. Kokhir Rasulzoda, Rudaki avenue, 80, 734023 g. Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Tel: +992 372 21 66 81 // 21 18 71
· Minister of Justice, Rudaki avenue, 25, Dushanbe 734025, Tajikistan. Fax: +992 37 221 80 66. E-mail ijozattj@mail.ru
· Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sirodjidin Aslov, Ul Sheroz 33 Dushanbe, 734001Tajikistan. Fax: +992 372 21 02 59. Email: info@mfa.t
· Minister of Internal Affairs, Ramazon Rahimov, 29 Tekhron Street, Dushanbe, 734025 Tajikistan. Fax: +992 372 21 26 48
· Ombudsperson, Zarif Alizoda, 7 Dzhalol Ikromi, Dushanbe 734025, Tajikistan, Fax: +992 372 21 79 69, Email: info@ombudsman.t
· General Prosecutor Salimzoda Sherkhoni Odina, DUSHANBE, 734043, ABUALI IBN SINO AVE., 126. Phone: + 992 372 355635 // 357874. Fax: +992 372 21 02 59. Email: info@mfa.tj
· Chairman of the Supreme Court, Karaboev avenue, 1, Dushanbe 734018. Tel: +992 372 33 48 2
· Chairman, State Committee for National Security, Saimymin Yatimov, Ministry of Security, Ul Gorkogo 8, 734025 Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Fax: +992 372 21 23 12
· Permanent mission of the Republic of Tajikistan to the United Nations in Geneva, 93 rue de la Servette (4th floor), 1202 Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22 734 11 58, Email: tajikistanmission@bluewin.ch
· Embassy of the Republic of Tajikistan in Brussels, boulevard Général Jacques 16, 1050 Brussels, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 649 01 95, Email: taj-emb@edpnet.be

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

***
Geneva-Paris, January 23, 2015

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

The Observatory, an OMCT and FIDH venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

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 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

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