Tajikistan’s ministry of justice: We have no political prisoner
Tajikistan’s Minister of Justice Rustami Shohmurod during his speech on January 31, at a press conference in Dushanbe, denied existence of political prisoners in the country’s prisons. According to the minister, Tajikistan’s legislation has no term “political prisoner”. Rustomi Shohmurod stated, “There is no political prisoner in Tajikistan’s prisons; all prisoners are convicted for committed crimes. Until today, no one was punished for political activities”. Tajikistan’s human rights ombudsman Zarif Alizoda also stated last year at the meeting with reporters that the country’s criminal legislation has no term as “political prisoner”. However, the International Amnesty human rights group claims that “although Tajikistan’s criminal legislation does not have any term as “political prisoner”, recent court processes show the contrary. People are charged with criminal offence under various reasons and baseless accusations. In fact, they were all prosecuted and arrested for their political activities”. Year earlier, chief of Tajikistan’s Supreme Court Shermuhammad Shokhiyon, at a meeting with reporters, named the claims of international organizations as baseless. According to Shokhiyon, persons whom the human rights activists call political prisoners, are serving their sentences not for political activities; they are in prison for fraud and other illegal acts. Zayd Saidov and Buzurgmehr Yorov, the human rights activists mentioned about, were sentenced to long terms for abuse of office. In September of the last year, leader of Hizbi Hahzati party (considered as a terrorist organization in Tajikistan) speaking at the OSCE session in Warsaw, reported that currently over 150 political prisoners from among the above party members were in Tajikistan’s prisons. As during the past decade, Emomali Rakhon’s regime held a number of large-scale actions against the religion. As consequence, members of Hizb ut-Tahrir political and ideological party were put in prison among the first. Later on, in the light of Syrian rebels, criminal cases were initiated against such religious communities like Tabligi Jamaat and Salafi Salihin. In 2015, members of Hizbi Nahzati Islom party, which earned minimum number of votes in the last elections, were massively charged with criminal offense. In September of the same year, amid the events related to the general Nazarzada, the Hizbi Nahzati Islom party was included also in the terrorist organizations list. Based on the above, we can say that: The existing system in Tajikistan is heavily-armed against any demonstration of Islam in the country, and it continually fights in that direction.