On February 4 the annual report of the known human rights organization Freedom House under the name “Out of Sight, but not out of Reach” was published in the USA. Human rights activists say for the whole world: today in Eurasia the citizens of Tajikistan are exposed most often to repressions from the government and that the power in every way pursues opposition even abroad.
In an report of Freedom House such figures are sounded: “after 2014 in the Eurasian region 129 cases of repressions were registered, 38 of them were connected with Tajikistan, these are arrests, illegal deportations, extraditions, attacks, inexplicable disappearances and one murder”. Hizbullo Shovalizoda, Maksud Ibragimov and Umarali Kuvvatov’s affairs are given as examples.
Also in the report it is told about the authoritative states pursuing oppositionists, human rights activists, dissidents and their families as within the country, and beyond her limits. The list of such states, besides Russia, Iran, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, included also Tajikistan.So according to the report, for the last six years, messages about murders of refugees from Chechnya, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and also deportation of refugees from Turkey to Azerbaijan and Tajikistan appeared. At the request of Turkmenistan and Tajikistan, citizens of these countries were detained abroad.
In the report it is mentioned, one of the most high-profile cases of 2020, Hizbullo Shovalizodа’s business. The activist of the Tajik opposition seeking asylum in Austria, was refused and was deported to Tajikistan at the request of the government where he was arrested, tortured and sentenced to 20 years for “high treason”.In spite of the fact that the Austrian federal court decided that Hizbullo Shovalizodа’s expulsion in Dushanbe was illegal and restored his right for entry into Austria, position of the oppositionist didn’t change. The Attorney-General of Tajikistan Yusuf Rahmon on the decision of the Austrian court said that it “especially internal affair”.
Here what is told about the government of Tajikistan by Edward Lemon, professor of the A&M University in Texas who took part in drawing up the report of Freedom House: “Considering that Tajikistan is the small country, it is one of the most repressive countries in the world. The government doesn’t leave alone the citizens even outside the borders. The government of Tajikistan took drastic measures against dissent within the country, for example, banned Party of the Islamic Renaissance and “Group 24”, and “also dealt shortly with independent journalists, scientists and human rights activists, having forced many to leave the country.
But despite the fact that they left the country, they are not protected from the Rakhmonov(President of Tajikistan since 1994) regime. These people face the threat of persecution, arrest, abduction and deportation. The most striking confirmation of this is the fate of Umarali Kuvvatov, a businessman who founded the political organization Group 24. He openly criticized the government and persons close to the family of President Rakhmonov, as a result, he was killed in March 2015 on a street in Istanbul, Turkey. “
Lemon emphasizes that the scale of the persecution of oppositionists by the Tajik government is huge: “Two years ago, about 2,500 arrest warrants from Interpol were issued in Tajikistan, which was the largest abuse of the system per capita. “In recent years, the fight against terrorism and extremism had intensified worldwide, and authoritarian States such as Tajikistan were increasingly abusing the situation, classifying oppositionists as terrorists.
Another human rights organization Human Rights Watch in January 2021 published data on the persecution of critics of the Tajik government abroad, citing the case of Khursand Najmiddinov, a Group of 24 activist in Russia, Jamshed Sharipov, a supporter of the group, and another opposition activist Ilkhomjon Yakubov, beaten in Lithuania.
Despite all the evidence, Tajik persons continue to refute all the accusations and say that in the country “no one is punished illegally” and all democratic norms are respected.
Group of 24 political movement