The representative of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Marius Fossum, proposed using international mechanisms of influence, including “targeted sanctions”, against the Tajik authorities, “which violate the principles of justice and the rule of law.”
Marius Fossum tweeted on April 7 that Tajik officials were “mocking justice and the rule of law.”
The human rights activist made a statement after the media published details of the case of the detained Tajik journalist Khurshed Fozilov, whom the authorities accuse of collaborating with organizations banned in the country. If his guilt on the charges is proven in court, he faces imprisonment for a term of 5 to 8 years.
“Tajik authorities are persecuting independent journalist Khurshed Fozilov for his legitimate journalistic activities, and in this way they are “cleansing” the remnants of freedom of speech in the country,” said Marius Fossum.
In 2017, a coalition of 23 non-governmental organizations, including Freedom House, Human Rights Watch, Freedom Now, Transparency International, etc., approached the US Department of State and Treasury with a proposal to impose sanctions against officials and businessmen from a number of countries around the world accused of human rights violations and corruption, in accordance with the so-called global Magnitsky Act.
From Tajikistan, the chairman of the State Committee for National Security of Tajikistan, Saimumin Yatimov, was included in this list. However, no sanctions were taken against the official.
Khurshed Fozilov was detained by employees of the State Committee for National Security on March 6 this year in the building of the Department of Labor, Migration and Employment of the Population of Penjikent, where he had been working under a contract since January this year. The journalist is kept in a temporary detention facility in Khujand.
His lawyer, Dilafruz Samadova, said Fozilov denies the accusation against him of collaborating with banned organizations and, in turn, filed a complaint with the Sughd regional prosecutor’s office for arbitrary detention, violation of the principle of inviolability of the person and coercion to testify against himself.
Last year in Tajikistan, seven journalists and bloggers were sentenced to various prison terms ranging from 7 to 21 years in prison. Four of them Daleri Imomali, Abdullo Gurbati, Abdusattor Pirmuhammadzoda and Zavkibek Saidamini were found guilty of collaborating with banned organizations.
The journalists themselves and their relatives deny the allegations. Some of the convicted journalists claimed to have been tortured in the pre-trial detention center.