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Legal expertise of the case of Nilufar Rajabova

Personal information:

Radzhabova Nilufar Rahmatulloevna is a resident of Dushanbe, F. Attor street -50, born 01/07/1990. She is the daughter of a Tajik political prisoner Jobir Rahmatulloi Rachab, sister of an oppositional journalist Shuhrati Rahmatullo. Has two small disabled children, the family is on the list of poor citizens.

Description of the case:

Prior to the lower described case of detention, on August 29, 2018, at the entrance to the hukumat (administration) of the Shohmansur district of the city of Dushanbe, N. Rajabova was exposed to insults from the Interior Ministry officers, guarding the administrative building, when she wanted to contact the authorities in order to receive a residence certificate, necessary for social support for her two disabled children. The reason was also her wearing a hijab and her discovered relationship with Shuhrati Rahmatullo and Jobir Rahmatullo Rajab.

“At the checkpoint, one of the policemen in the district recognized me. He asked: “Are you by any chance the sister of Shuhrat Rahmatullo and the daughter of Rahmatullo Rajab?” I nodded. The policeman began to be rude, said that we are traitors, that my brother outside the country says everything he wants about authorities. “If my father is imprisoned, why should my children suffer?” — Nilufar replied, as she recons.

On the 14th of December 2019, Nilufar Rajabova left her house, leaving her two children under the supervision of her elderly mother. The character of their disabilities requires joint efforts of both mother and grandmother even to take them to the toilet. N. Rajabova was forced to leave her children with her mother, as she needed medical help. She was suffering from general malaise, back pain, movement problems in the extremities, a hernia formed as a result of raising children. The woman hoped to return home from the clinic in a short time.

On this day the law enforcement agencies maid one of the systematic raids against women in hijabs, N. Rajabova was detained. Policemen forcibly put her in a car and delivered to the Dushanbe Sino-2 District Police Department with an intention to officially explain and warn her about the inadmissibility for women of wearing headscarves covering their face and breasts.

In the police station there were already detained more than 20 women, also forcibly brought from different parts of the city. For about ten hours Rajabova N. was continually being instructed that according to the governmental decision and decisions taken by Dushanbe authorities, wearing a hijab spoils the appearance of the city and does not correspond to national culture. Government officials said that if a woman intends to wear a hijab, it is better for them to leave the country for Afghanistan, Iran or any other suitable country. They demanded to take off the hijabs and put on light scarves.

But after the policemen found out that Nilufar Rajabova is the daughter of a convicted member of the High Council of the IRPT (banned in Tajikistan) Jobir Rahmatullo Rajab and sister of the opposition journalist in exile Shuhrati Rahmatullo, their attitude has immediately changed. The telephone was seized from Nilufar and she was threatened to be arrested in case of disobedience. Two police officers forcibly dragged N. Rajabova N. to the basement of the police station with violence. They insulted and humiliated her and threatened her with rape.

They threatened to arrest her for 15 days, explaining that she is going to be kept in the basement and the officials intend to do with her whatever they want, so that no one would know. Colonel Mashraf Istamzoda, in presence of about 15 police officers and a number of male civilian raid participants in his office, said: “Now you will undress yourself and we are going to rape you all in turn. We will record it on video and send it to your father to prison, so that he would hang himself from shame. We will also send this video to your brother in Poland so that he also hangs himself. And then you yourself will hang yourself from the shame of the family.”

As to the woman’s plea not to do this, since she has two disabled children at home who constantly need her help, Colonel Istamzoda replied: “Your children are children of the enemies of the people. They do not have the right to live. Undress herself voluntarily, or I’ll undress you myself.” He took a deodorant spray stick from his desktop and said that he would personally rape her with this object.

Colonel Mashraf Istamzoda approached the woman and began to tear off her clothes by force in order to fulfill his threat of rape. As she resisted, he hit the woman in the back of the head with a hand wrapped in a scarf. He also said that now that her phone is in their hands, he can place anything there: “We will put the flag of ISIS on your phone and say that you recruited the militants. We will accuse you that it was you who organized the attack on the Ishkobod outpost, and you will go to prison for many years and no one will help you.”

However, Nilufar Rajabova was saved from the worst, as, being detained in the minibus, she managed to inform her brother, journalist Shuhrati Rahmatullo, that she had been detained and taken to the Sino-2 Police Department. The police saw the response from her brother. He wrote that he would make this lawless practice known in social networks and international media. Someone from the police sent him a message not to make a fuss.

Rajabova N. had been detained at the police station for about 10 hours. All this time she was without food and water, unable to communicate with her relatives. Only in the evening, when her mother came to the police station, the woman was released. Rajabova filed a complaint with the Prosecutor General’s Office about these illegal actions of the Ministry of Interior.

As a result, on December 18, 2019, the Sino Municipal District Court fined her 550 somoni for “petty hooliganism”, i.e. for insulting the Head of the Sino District Women and Family Care department, Rano Abdullaeva, who was involved in the detainment and transfer of Rajabova N. and other women to the police headquarters. A cassation appeal against this court decision was rejected by the City Court on January 22, 2020.

The complaint of Rajabova N. regarding the above-mentioned police officers of the Ministry of Interior has not been examined yet.

Violation of international and national legislation found out in the case:

The analysis of the situation revealed significant human rights violations committed by police officers and courts of the Republic of Tajikistan in this particular case.

The provisions of the Constitution of Tajikistan Articles have been violated, such as:

1) Article 5: A person, his rights and freedoms are the highest value.

Life, honor, dignity and other natural human rights are inviolable. The rights and freedoms of man and citizen are recognized, respected and protected by the state.

2) Art8.: In Tajikistan, public life is developing on the basis of political and ideological pluralism. The ideology of no party, public or religious association, movement or group can be recognized as a state one.

3) Art.17: Everyone is equal before the law and the court. The state guarantees the rights and freedoms of everyone, regardless of nationality, race, gender, language, religion, political opinion, education, social and property status.

4) Art18. Part 3.: The inviolability of the person is guaranteed by the state. No one shall be subjected to torture, inhuman treatment or punishment other, than established by law.

5) Art.19: Everyone is guaranteed judicial protection. Everyone has the right to demand that his case be examined by a competent, independent and impartial court established in accordance with law.

No one may be unlawfully detained or arrested.

6) Article 26: Everyone has the right to independently determine their attitude to religion, to profess any religion separately or jointly with others or not to practice any religion, to participate in the worship, rituals and ceremonies.

7) Article 33 part.1: The family, as the basis of society, is protected by the state.

8) Art 34.: Mother and child are under special protection and patronage of the state.

The state takes care of the protection of orphans and disabled people, their upbringing and education.

Tajikistan’s international obligations in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights have also been ignored or violated:

— The human right to enjoy all the rights and all freedoms proclaimed by this Declaration, without any distinction, such as in relation to race, color, gender, language, religion, political or other beliefs, national or social origin, property, estate or other status (Article 2 of the UDHR and Article 2 of the ICCPR).

— The right not to be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (Art. 5 UDHR, Art. 7 ICCPR, Art. 1 and 2 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Art. 141 note 1 of the Criminal Code)        — the right to equality before the law and protection from any discrimination (Art. 7 UDHR).

— The right not to be subjected to arbitrary detention or arrest (Article 9 of the UDHR, Article 9.ch1. ICCPR).

— The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Article 18 of the UDHR, Article 18 of the ICCPR).

— The right to social security and the exercise necessary for maintaining dignity and for the free development of the individual in the economic, social and cultural fields (Article 22 of the UDHR).

— The right to freely express one’s opinion and to freely adhere to one’s opinions and beliefs (Article 19 of the ICCPR).

— The right to a decent standard of living (Art. 25 UDHR).

— The right of the child to respect and insurance of all rights, without any discrimination, regardless of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property status, state of health and birth of the child, his parents or legal guardians (Article 2 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child).

— The rights of mentally or physically disabled to have a full and dignified life (Article 23 and Article 27 of the Convention on Rights of the Child).

— The provisions that in exercising their rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and general welfare in a democratic society (Article 29 of the UDHR).

— Violation of equality before the law and the right to equal protection (Article 26. ICCPR).

As a result of discriminatory measures, the rights of a disabled child, provided for by Article 45 of the Law of the Republic of Tajikistan “On the Protection of the Rights of the Child”, have been violated as well.

We consider it relevant to recall hereby, that not only basic human rights of Nilufar Rajabova and her small children were violated in this case. The actions of the police and of the Head of the Department of Women and Family of the Sino district, Rano Abdullaeva, contain the definite signs of the criminal deeds, related to the following articles of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Tajikistan (CCRT):

Art. 120 of the CCRT: Threat to kill or cause serious bodily harm.

Art. 127 of the CCRT: The deliberate abandonment of a person who is in danger to life or health and who is deprived of the opportunity to take measures for self-preservation due to infancy, old age, illness, or due to his helplessness.

Art. 32. 137 CCRT: Attempted rape.

Art. 131 part 2 of the CCRT: Illegal imprisonment.

Art. 134 of the CCRT: Duress.

Art. 143 note 1 of the CCRT: Torture.

Art. 189, part 2 point «c» of the CCRT: Actions directed to the excitation of national, racial, regional or religious enmity or discord, humiliation of national dignity, and propaganda singling citizens because of their attitude to religion in official positions.

Art. 316 of the CCRT: Excess of authority.

Art. 174 of the CCRT: Insulting the honor and dignity of a citizen.

Conclusion of the NAT Legal Department

02/06/2020

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