Tajikistan: Alexander Sodiqov treason investigation extended

The extension of Tajikistan’s treason investigation into blogger and researcher Alexander Sodiqov is cause for grave concern

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 whilst interviewing an opposition leader as part of his research into conflict resolution in Gorno-Badakhshan. After spending approximately five weeks in detention, Sodiqov was released in July. However, the conditions of his release are very strict and are likely to remain in place for the duration of the investigation, which we have now learned will continue for a further twelve months. Sodiqov is prohibited from leaving Tajikistan and returning to his academic studies in Canada. Furthermore, he is also not allowed to speak to foreign journalists, ambassadors and human rights organisations.

PEN believes that the charge against Alexander Sodiqov is politically motivated and calls for it to be dropped, and for the associated restrictions on Sodiqov’s freedom of expression and movement to be lifted.

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

TAKE ACTION

  • Write to your ambassador to Tajikistan calling on them to raise Alexander Sodiqov’s politically-motivated treason charge with the Tajik government;
  • Write to Tajikistan’s President and Minister of Foreign Affairs calling on Tajikistan to drop the treason charge against Sodiqov and to lift the associated restrictions on his freedom of movement and expression.

A sample letter is provided below, but we would highly recommend personalising your appeal if possible.

Addresses

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

President

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

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
Email: info@mfa.tj

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=dushanbe.reception@fco.gov.uk‘ subject=”FAO His Excllency Mr Robin Ord-Smith”]

Your Excellency

I am writing to you as a supporter of English PEN, the founding centre of the international association of writers, to express my concern over the ongoing investigation into 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. After spending approximately five weeks in detention, Sodiqov was released in July, but the conditions of this release are very strict. Sodiqov is prohibited from leaving Tajikistan and therefore unable to return to his academic studies in Canada. He is also not allowed to speak to foreign journalists, ambassadors and human rights organisations. Of additional concern is the fact that the treason investigation into Sodiqov has recently been extended for a further twelve months.

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, and for the associated restrictions on Sodiqov’s freedom of expression and movement to be lifted at the earliest opportunity. As Britain’s representative to Tajikistan, I respectfully urge you to raise my concerns with the Tajik government and to join PEN in calling for the charge to be dropped.

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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