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Continued repression on Tajikistan Pamiris

Brussels, Washington DC (2/12 – 100).

The Tajik government continues its repression against the Pamir minority group as part of Dushanbe’s efforts to quell the opposition to the ruling government in Tajikistan.

The repressive actions included forced extradition, arbitrary arrest and harsh verdict to alleged Pamiri activists.

Tokhir Abdolbekov, the former head of the Khorog Housing and Communal Services Department and a close relative of convicted civil activist Oraz Vazirbekov, has been charged with extremism. Abdolbekov was detained on in late November in Khorog.

Close relatives of Abdolbekov, who is also the ex-deputy of the Majlis of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO), is suspected of “collaborating with Alim Sherzamonov” and “organizing the commemoration of Mamadbokir Mamadbokirov.”

Alim Sherzamonov is the deputy chairman of the banned organization National Alliance of Tajikistan (NAT) while Mamadbokirov was one of the informal leaders of GBAO who was killed on May 22 in Khorog.

Meanwhile, public activist and leader of the Pamir youth in Russia Vazirbekov, who was sentenced in Tajikistan to 16 years in prison, can be transferred to the so-called “covered prison” in the capital city Dushanbe. This was reported to Pamir Daily News by several well-informed sources from law enforcement agencies in Tajikistan.

Vazirbekov received a prison term almost without a trial and in the absence of legal defense, according to sources. He was simply read out the verdict and now there is a high probability that he will be transferred to the “covered” prison, in fact the most severe prison under the regime.

Currently, another public activist Amriddin Alovatshoev and a well-known athlete from GBAO, Chorshanbe Chorshanbiev are also in this prison.

The long arms of Dushanbe regime did not stop in the border as it managed to forcibly repatriate wanted persons from neighbor and close ally Russia.

The 34-year-old Amid Alifshoev, a resident from the Khlebozavod mahalla in Khorog city, was extradited by Russia to Tajikistan. His relatives said that they did not know the reason for Alifshoev’s detention and deportation.

Several sources told Radio Ozodi on November 28 that Alifshoev was detained in the previous week at a rented apartment in Moscow by masked men in camouflage uniforms.

Part of its duties to assess the human rights condition Tajikistan, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Mary Lawlor is conducting an official visit from November 28 to December 9.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reports that the visit will provide an opportunity to discuss the situation of human rights defenders and the main problems and challenges faced by civil society in the country.

“I will also review existing and planned measures to protect human rights defenders, including legislation and policy, the general environment for registration and management of non-governmental organizations, freedom of speech, peaceful assembly and access to legal aid,” Lawlor said ahead of her visit to Tajikistan.

Earlier in May, the UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues Fernand de Varennes urged the Dushanbe regime to end a deadly crackdown against the Pamiri minority in GBAO, warning that using counterterrorism approach to suppress protests could invite even wider and more violent trouble.

“The Government’s heavy-handed response to end protests by the Pamiri minority through arrests, the excessive and unlawful use of force, and the involvement of the military is disproportionate and deeply disturbing,” de Varennes said.

“I call on all sides to exercise restraint, and to ensure this doesn’t spiral out of control.”

De Varennes called on the authorities to engage in constructive and open dialogue with the Pamiri minority. He urged the Tajik authorities to immediately implement conflict-prevention measures that meet international human rights standards, including the protection of the Pamiri minority.