URGENT ALERT: Tajik regime sentences 11 Islamists to death, jails a further 74

Islamic Human Rights Commission

26 February 2003

URGENT ALERT: Tajik regime sentences 11 Islamists to death, jails a further 74

IHRC condemns Tuesday’s politically-motivated decision by Tajikistan’s Supreme Court to sentence 11 Islamists to death and jail a further 74. Conducted under the auspices of a military judge, the accused were convicted of murders and a range of other offences covering a five year period from 1995 to 2000.

The unduly harsh punishments handed down follow a recent pattern of purges and repression aimed at Tajikistan’s Islamists, part of a post-civil war process of authoritarian re-entrenchment. 2001 witnessed the expulsion of Tajik’s Islamists from the national government, followed by 2002 public denunciations of the Islamic Renaissance Party, as threats to Tajik society, with a number of former opposition activists sentenced to death during the year. Furthermore, Imomali Rakhmonov’s regime has enacted measures to break religious authority and provoke divisions within the predominantly Islamist opposition through regional mosques closures and the abolishment of independent religious authorities.

IHRC notes that no members of pro-government forces, notorious for their ethnically-based cleansing campaigns against opposition sympathisers during the civil war, or elements of the ‘security forces’ who continue to indulge in extrajudicial killings, often extorting, kidnapping, torturing, and inflicting wanton violence against civilians with impunity, have been subjected to the judicial process. The sentences serve to highlight Rakhmonov’s continued insincerity to the concessions forged out of the peace process and his desire to renege on them.

IHRC fears that the death sentences signal a new phase of intensified political repression, especially in the run up to the 2005 Presidential and 2006 Parliamentary elections. IHRC also calls for the suspension of the imposed death sentences.

Suggested Action

Please write to the following expressing your despondence at the verdicts and the increased campaign of marginalisation against Tajikistan’s Islamists. Remind them that yet again the Tajikistan regime has jeopardised Tajikistan’s fragility and that its actions militate against the peace accords, urging them to apply pressure on the Tajik regime to rescind the death sentences.

Mr Jim Cousins MP
Chair, Central Asia Group
House of Commons
London SW1A OAA

House of Commons Phone number: 020 7219 4204
House of Commons Fax number: 020 7219 6290
Constituency Phone number: 0191 281 9888
Constituency Fax number: 0191 281 3383

Mr David Chaytor MP
Vice-Chair, Central Asia Group
House of Commons
London SW1A OAA

House of Commons Phone number: 020 7219 6625
House of Commons Fax number: 020 7219 0952
Constituency Phone number: 0161 764 2023
Constituency Fax number: 0161 763 3410

Mr Sergio de Mello
UN High Commissioner on Human Rights
8-14 Avenue de la Paris
1211 Geneva 10

Mr Jack Straw MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street

Fax No: 020 7270 3539

Commissioner Chris Patten
European Commission
Directorate General for External Relations
200 Rue de la Loi
B-1049 Brussels

PO Box 598, Wembley, HA9 7XH, United Kingdom
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