Tajikistan: Court frees Khayrullo Mirsaidov but confirms charges

Urgent Appeal

New information
TJK 001 / 0718 / OBS 094.1
Release /
Judicial harassment
August 24, 2018

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

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the release of Mr. Khayrullo Mirsaidov, and the ongoing judicial harassment against him. Mr. Khayrullo Mirsaidov is a journalist covering issues related to human rights, the environment and national minorities.

According to the information received, on August 22, 2018, the Soghd Regional Court reviewed Mr. Khayrullo Mirsaidov’s case on appeal and reduced his 12 years’ imprisonment sentence to a fine of 80,000 somoni (around 8,500 USD) under Articles 245 and 340 of the Criminal Code, confirming the charges against him. The Soghd Regional Court additionnaly sentenced Mr. Khayrullo Mirsaidov to community service under Article 346 of the Criminal Code. Mr. Khayrullo Mirsaidov is said to be determined to appeal this decision.

The Observatory welcomes the release of Mr. Khayrullo Mirsaidov but recalls the charges against him have been confirmed and that he should never have been neither charged nor imprisoned in the first place.

The Observatory further condemns the ongoing judicial harassment against M. Khayrullo Mirsaidov and calls upon the authorities of Tajikistan to overturn his conviction and drop all charges against him, as well all human rights defenders in the country, as they are only aimed at punishing them for their legitimate human rights activities.

Background information:

On December 5, 2017, Mr. Khayrullo Mirsaidov was summoned to the Prosecution Office of the 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. He was detained at the pre-trial detention centre of Khujand, where he had been detained since his arrest and where was allowed to see his family members once a month.

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 appealed the sentence. He was additionnaly fined 124,000 somonis (around 13,500 USD) for alleged damages against the State, a fine which was reportedly paid by Mr. Khayrullo Mirsaidov’s family on July 12, 2018.

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

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of 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. 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;

iii. 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;

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


• 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, August 24, 2018

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

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH 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 / +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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