APPEAL OF THE NATIONAL COMMITTEE FOR THE RELEASE OF POLITICAL HOSTAGE AND PRISONERS OF TAJIKISTAN TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY ON THE CASE OF BADAKHSHAN

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen!

For nearly three months now, a great human tragedy has been taking place in one of Tajikistan’s largest provinces, Badakhshan, where the majority of the population is Ismaili. The Tajik government has brought this human tragedy onto these people.

For the past three months, residents of the province have been denied access to the Internet and have been harassed, threatened and insulted by law enforcement authorities.

This led to severe depression among the population, especially among women and children.

The conflict erupted on November 25 when a group of armed men came to the home of Gulbiddin Ziyobekov, a resident of a small village in the area, and tortured and shot him without a court ruling on his guilt.

Not satisfied with all this, Ziyobekov was taken away, and then his relatives found his body with several other gunshot wounds in the morgue of a hospital in Khorog. Since the incident took place in front of the local villagers, the residents took Gulbiddin’s body and went to the central square in Khorog to seek justice.

And for the sake of empathy, many people joined Gulbiddin’s mother. The provincial government did not show up to the crowd to hear their voices and express its condolences to his mother. Despite this, the authorities opened fire on the protesters and several people were killed and wounded.

The protesters left the square only after the government promised to create a special commission to investigate the incident and appoint several members of the commission from among the protesters.

And then civil society of the region formed a group of 44 people, known as the «Group of 44». To stabilize the situation and prevent it from happening again, the Group made several proposals to the government, including the immediate restoration of the Internet and the removal of additional checkpoints from Khorog that could have destabilized the situation.

It took time to investigate the murder of Gulbuddin and find those responsible. Unfortunately, after more than 80 days, the population’s demands have not been met. Instead of doing their job, the military structures begin to vilify and criminalize the inhabitants of the region and escalate the situation. All the people who witnessed this brutal murder with their own eyes need care and sympathy to get out from under the pressure and mental turmoil, and instead these people are presented by the authorities as criminals.

Hunting wild animals in Tajikistan today requires special permission from the relevant authorities, but the authorities do not even get a permission to hunt and kill the people of Badakhshan.

A well-known athlete of the region is Chorshanbe Chorshanbiev, who in recent years lived and worked in Russia, somehow during the competition gave into his emotions and said that he is not a Tajik, but a Pamirian. For this reason, a criminal case was initiated against him as a criminal.

Several other residents of the region convicted of hooliganism and released on bail were re-indicted as criminals by the authorities.

Similarly, another native of the region, Amriddin Alovatshoev, who had worked in Russia for several years training young athletes, was illegally kidnapped from Russia and brought to Tajikistan.

Alovatshoev was detained for two weeks, but the Tajik authorities denied this and did not even inform his relatives. He still has not been provided with a lawyer. A few days ago an activist reported that Amriddin had been brutally tortured. His relatives deny this because they are afraid or under pressure.

Now it is the turn of Badakhshan activists, whom officials and state television call «unofficial leaders». For a month, official Badakhshan television portrayed well-known and respected people of the region as criminals, including Mamadbokir Mamadbokirov.

From the Minister of Energy to the chairmen of districts and cities, they refer to Mamadbokir Bakirov in their speeches as a criminal, although the court did not find him guilty.

Of course, since there is no justice in Tajikistan, the government can bring anyone to justice. Therefore, a person from another district of the province was appointed to the post of head of the regional administration in order to first sow discord among the population and then easily rule over them.

The authorities made a film in which Mamadbokir allegedly insulted and coerced Navruzov, which the public did not believe.

The government took a different course, since there was no other reason to persecute Mamadbokir. The authorities demanded that Mamadbokir betray six of his companions who had allegedly contributed to the recent disturbances.

Mamadbokir stated that he did not commit any crime and was not going to betray anyone to the authorities.

Now we can conclude that all the authorities are doing today is to bring these people to their knees, which can be called genocide.

History has shown that, at all times, every nation that seeks to preserve its identity, language, and the rule of law has been persecuted and oppressed. Today, the people of Badakhshan are hostages of the Rakhmon regime.

The National Committee for the Release of Political Hostages and Prisoners of Tajikistan (NCRPH) once again respectfully asks you not to ignore the plight of the people of Badakhshan and to work together to bring the people of the region out of their plight and despair.

Sincerely,

The National Committee for the Release of Political Hostages and Prisoners of Tajikistan

Warsaw, Poland

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