Tajikistan: Alexander Sodiqov reportedly charged with treason

English PEN is deeply concerned by the detention, reportedly on treason charges, of the blogger and academic Alexander Sodiqov.  PEN believes that Sodiqov was arrested for practising his right to freedom of expression, that the charges against him are politically motivated, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release

Alexander Sodiqov, 31, is a popular blogger on Central Asian issues at Global Voices and the Tajikistan Monitor. Sodiqov was arrested whilst carrying out academic research in Khorog, the capital of the autonomous region of Gorno-Badakhshan, Tajikistan, on 16 June 2014. He was detained by security officers whilst interviewing an opposition leader as part of his research into conflict resolution in Gorno-Badakhshan, a region which has recently seen deadly clashes between protesters and local security forces.

At first, Sodiqov was held in an unknown location but news reports now suggest that he is being held in a detention facility run by the State Committee for National Security (SCNS) in Dushnabe. On 17 June, the SCNS issued a statement accusing Sodiqov of spying for foreign governments.

Information recently received by PEN appears to confirm reports that Sodiqov has now been charged with treason, although this has still not been officially confirmed. If convicted of treason, he could face up to 20 years in jail. PEN also understands that Sodiqov has spent at least some of his time in detention in solitary confinement.

Sodiqov’s family has been denied contact with him and know little about the charges against him. Sodiqov has not been allowed to consult a defence lawyer of his choosing, but instead has been allocated one by the Tajik authorities.

For further background information, please visit the PEN International website.

Take Action

Write to the Tajik authorities and to your ambassador to Tajikistan:

  • Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Alexander Sodiqov, who has been detained on politically motivated charges of treason;
  • Urging that Sodiqov be allowed access to a defence lawyer of his choosing in line with Tajikistan’s law and international obligations;
  • Demanding that he is allowed access to his family;
  • Urging that he is not subject to torture or other ill treatment, including solitary confinement.

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Tajikistan in your country if possible, and send copies of any appeals you send and responses you receive to cat@englishpen.org

You can also tweet: #Tajikistan must free detained academic & blogger Alexander Sodiqov

And you can join a campaign set up by friends and supporters to free Sodiqov:

Addresses:

President
Emomali Rahmon
80 Rudaki Street
Dushanbe 734023
Tajikistan
Fax: +992 372 21 68 00
Email: mail@president.tj
Salutation: Dear President Rahmon

Prosecutor General
Sherkhon Salimzoda
126, A. Sino Avenue
Dushanbe 734043, Tajikistan
(Mark faxes and emails, “Please forward to Prosecutor General”)
Fax: +992 372 21 02 59
Email: info@mfa.tj
Salutation: Dear Prosecutor General

Chairman, State Committee for National Security
Saimymin Yatimov
Ministry of Security
Ul Gorkogo 8
734025 Dushanbe
Tajikistan
Fax: +992 372 21 23 12

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

SAMPLE APPEAL

You may wish to write to the authorities using the form below. A sample letter is provided, but we would highly recommend personalising your appeal.

[ecampaign ‘to=info@tajembassy.org.uk ‘ subject=”Concerns for Alexander Sodiqov”]

Your Excellency

I am writing to you as a supporter of English PEN, the founding centre of the international association of writers, on behalf of blogger and academic Alexander Sodiqov.

According to PEN’s information, Alexander Sodiqov was arrested whilst carrying out academic research in Khorog, the capital of the autonomous region of Gorno-Badakhshan on 16 June 2014. It is widely believed that Sodiqov was arrested for practising his right to freedom of expression, and that the charges against him are politically motivated.

Information recently received by PEN appears to confirm reports that Sodiqov has now been charged with treason, although this has still not been officially confirmed. If convicted of treason, he could face up to 20 years in jail. PEN also understands that Sodiqov has spent at least some of his time in detention in solitary confinement. Meanwhile, Sodiqov’s family has been denied contact with him and know little about the charges against him, whilst Sodiqov himself has not been allowed to consult a defence lawyer of his choosing, but instead has been allocated one by the Tajik authorities.

I join PEN in calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Alexander Sodiqov and urge the authorities to ensure that he is not subject to torture or other ill treatment, including solitary confinement, whilst he remains in detention. Furthemore, I demand that Sodiqov be allowed access to his family and to a defence lawyer of his choosing in line with Tajikistan’s law and international obligations

I would welcome your comments on my appeal.

Yours sincerely

[/ecampaign]

**Please keep us informed of any action you take in regard to Alexander Sodiqov’s case by emailing cat@englishpen.org**

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