HRW calls for the release of two bloggers detained in Tajikistan

HRW calls for the release of two bloggers detained in Tajikistan

June 22 (EUROPA PRESS) –

The NGO Human Right Watch (HRW) on Tuesday demanded that the Tajikistan authorities release two bloggers critical of state institutions who had been arrested “for their professional activities.”

The two bloggers, Daleri Imomali and Abdullo Ghurbati, upload videos on their Youtube channel in which they do investigative reporting on the Government of Tajikistan. They have been charged for alleged cooperation with banned political parties and organizations, as well as the alleged beating of a Tajik police officer.

“Imomali and Ghurbati are being targeted for their professional activities, despite being protected by Tajikistan’s laws and international obligations on freedom of expression and press freedom,” HRW Central Asia researcher Syinat Sultanalieva said. a statement.

Sultanalieva has maintained that criticizing state institutions is “not a crime”, and has called for the bloggers to be “immediately released” and for the charges against them to be dropped.

HRW has recalled that officials from the Dushanbe tax office, the country’s most populous city, arrested both Imomali and Ghurbati on June 15, 2022, initially on charges of “illegal business activity.” Imomali was also charged with premeditated false reporting and Ghurbati with allegedly assaulting a police officer, charges he denies.

Likewise, during the judicial hearing on June 18, the Court added a charge of “participation in activities of prohibited political organizations and parties.” However, spokespersons for the two largest banned parties in Tajikistan, the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) and Group 24, have refuted this accusation and claimed that the bloggers had no association with their parties.

“Criminal investigation is now ongoing, with Imomali’s case categorized as ‘secret’. If found guilty, the bloggers could face between two and seven years in prison,” HRW said.

“The prosecution of Imomali and Ghurbati follows other cases of harassment, intimidation and unlawful imprisonment of journalists in Tajikistan. Over the past month, two other journalists, Khushom Gulom and Ulfatkhonim Mamadshoeva, have been detained without due process. Both are from the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO), where tensions between locals and Tajik security forces rose during a series of protests in May,” the organization added.

Tajikistan has a long history of prosecuting journalists and bloggers for their critical opinions. Tajikistan’s telecommunications agency regularly blocks websites that transmit information potentially critical to the government, including the Radio Ozodi website. Authorities also regularly deny accreditation to journalists from the country’s only independent media outlet Radio Free Europe’s Tajik service, while harassing journalists from other outlets for covering critical issues and events, the NGO has reported.

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Written by Editor TLN

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