Tajikistan: Alexander Sodiqov allowed to leave Tajikistan; treason charge remains

English PEN joins PEN International in warmly welcoming the news that blogger and academic Alexander Sodiqov has been allowed to leave Tajikistan and return to Canada

Alexander Sodiqov, 31, is a popular blogger on Central Asian issues at Global Voices and the Tajikistan Monitor and a PhD student at the University of Toronto, Canada. At the time of his arrest in June 2014, he was carrying out research in Gorno-Badakhshan as part of a multi-country research project led by the University of Exeter. On 17 June, the State Committee for National Security (SCNS) issued a statement accusing Sodiqov of spying for foreign governments.

After spending approximately five weeks in detention Sodiqov was released in July 2014. However, the conditions of his release were very strict and it was announced that the investigation would be extended by a year. Sodiqov was prohibited from leaving Tajikistan and returning to his academic studies in Canada; he was not allowed to speak to foreign journalists, ambassadors and human rights organisations.

PEN has campaigned for Sodiqov to be allowed to return to his home and work at the University of Toronto, and for the politically-motivated treason charge against him to be dropped. Whilst we welcome the fact that Sodiqov has been allowed to return to Canada we remain seriously concerned that, according to reports, the treason charge remains in place and that he could still face between 12 and 20 years in prison. We are therefore continuing to call on the Tajik authorities to drop the charge against Sodiqov immediately and unconditionally.

Take Action

  • Write to Tajik authorities calling on Tajikistan to drop the treason charge against Sodiqov, which PEN believes to be politically motivated.

Addresses

President

Mr Emomali Rahmon
80 Rudaki Street
Dushanbe 734023
Tajikistan
Fax: +992 372 21 68 00

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr Aslov Sirodjidin Muhridinovich,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
33 Sheroz str., Dushanbe 734001, Republic of Tajikistan
Fax: (992 37) 221-02-59
E-mail: info@mfa.tj

British Ambassador to Tajikistan

His Excellency Mr Robin Ord-Smith
British Embassy Dushanbe
65 Mirzo Tursunzoda Street, Dushanbe
734002, Republic of Tajikistan
Email dushanbe.reception@fco.gov.uk
Fax+99 237 227 1726
Twitter @ukintajikistan

The Embassy of the Republic of Tajikistan in United Kingdom

His Excellency Mr Erkin Kasymov
The Embassy of the Republic of Tajikistan in United Kingdom
26-28 Hammersmith Grove
London
W6 7BA
Fax:  +44 (0) 208 834 1100
Email:  info@tajembassy.org.uk

You can also tweet: #Tajikistan must drop treason charges against academic & blogger Alexander Sodiqov @pen_int @englishpen

[ecampaign ‘to=info@tajembassy.org.uk‘ subject=”FAO His Excellency Mr Erkin Kasymov”]

Your Excellency

I am writing to you as a supporter of English PEN, the founding centre of the international association of writers, in support of blogger and researcher Alexander Sodiqov.

According to PEN’s information, Alexander Sodiqov, a popular blogger on Central Asian issues and a PhD student at the University of Toronto, Canada, was arrested by security officers on 16 June 2014. On 17 June, the State Committee for National Security (SCNS) issued a statement accusing Sodiqov of spying for foreign governments. Sodiqov was released in July having spent approximately five weeks in detention but the conditions of his release were very strict. He was prohibited from leaving Tajikistan and returning to his academic studies in Canada; he was not allowed to speak to foreign journalists, ambassadors and human rights organisations.

I welcome the news that Sodiqov has since been allowed to leave Tajikistan and returned to Canada on 10 September. However, according to reports, the treason charge against him remains. I share PEN’s belief that the charge against Alexander Sodiqov is politically motivated and join the organisation in calling for it to be dropped immediately and unconditionally.

I would welcome your comments on my appeal.

Yours sincerely

[/ecampaign]

Please let us know of any action you take by emailing cat@englishpen.org

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