NCRPH: SHOHIDA MAHMADJONOVA MUST BE RELEASED IMMEDIATELY!

The National Committee for the Release of Political Hostage and Prisoners of Tajikistan (NCRPH) is deeply concerned about the growing pressure on government opposition and the fact that the government of Tajikistan does not comply with international human rights standards, especially the fact that women have been subjected to more violence recently.

In recent years, the authorities have interfered with the clothing of muslim women, and even the Ministry of Culture has developed a regulation on the “proper form” of women’s clothing, which violates democratic values and is a gross violation of human rights.

We are talking in this letter not about the fine of women for wearing the hijab, but about the fact that women are subjected to violence and bullying in law enforcement agencies; institutions whose task is to protect the life and honor of people.

In order to influence the oppositionists, return them to Tajikistan or force them to give up their political activity, these institutions have put pressure on their mothers and sisters in recent years. Calling these women to law enforcement Agencies and to film their conversations with their husbands, fathers or brothers under pressure, is a typical method used by the authorities. As a result of these women being taken to law enforcement agencies and keeping them there for long hours — some of them are elderly mothers — they suffer from high blood pressure and other illnesses.

Respect for women’s rights is respect for the rights of all people. Unfortunately, pressure, threats, insults and violence against them by the police forces, security services and prosecutors have become a tradition, and there are even cases of women committing suicide after being summoned to these institutions. The recent events in Badakhshan have also been described as «harassment» by the prosecutor’s office against local women.

Many international organizations have repeatedly warned Tajikistan, which has signed the international human rights regulations, but, unfortunately, does not comply with them, but the situation is getting worse.

The government is currently holding the mothers, wives and sometimes sisters of the opposition as hostages and preventing them from leaving the country and joining their relatives. The number of hostages is on the rise, and if necessary, authorities using them to keep silent the oppositional activists. This approach is unique in the world, and the world evaluates Tajikistan accordingly and recognizes it as an authoritarian state.

The Tajik government still denies the violence, but independent media and human rights organizations continue to report its existence. For example, on February 3, 2022, Shohida Mahmadjonova, the mother of a young Tajik blogger living as a refugee in Germany, was summoned to the police station in the city of Vahdat. Today is the 6th day since no one knows where this woman is, and the authorities do not answer the question of her husband and relatives.

Shohida Mahmadjonova had previously been harassed by law enforcement agencies for her son’s activities and was fired from her job. For six days now, all Tajik social networks have been sounding the alarm about the disappearance of an innocent woman, a mother, but not a single high-ranking from officials has answered where she is and what crime was she arrested for? It is clear that this woman has not committed a crime, her only sin is that she gave birth to an enlightened son; a child who cries out against injustice.

Another example is Nilufar Rajabova, the daughter of political prisoner Rahmatullo Rajab, who was persecuted by Tajik law enforcement agencies for years and was eventually forced to leave Tajikistan along with her disabled children.

The National Committee for the Release of Political Hostage and Prisoners of Tajikistan (NCRPH) calls on the Tajik law enforcement agencies to immediately report the whereabouts of Shohida Mahmadjonova and find out why and for what reason she is being pressured because of the activities of her adult son? According to the current laws of Tajikistan and the whole world, a person over 18 years of age is responsible for his actions and words himself.

We call on all women’s human rights organizations, the diplomatic corps stationed in Tajikistan, and the embassies of countries not to remain neutral on this issue and to achieve the release of Shohida Mahmadjonova.

The National Committee for the Release of Political Hostage and Prisoners of Tajikistan (NCRPH)

Warsaw, Poland

08.02.2022

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