PRESS RELEASE: Tajik death sentences – Rakhmonov’s regime places pressure on Tajikistan’s fragility


Islamic Human Rights Commission

PRESS RELEASE: Tajik death sentences – Rakhmonov’s regime places pressure on Tajikistan’s fragility

26 February 2003

IHRC condemns Tuesday’s verdict, characterised by the absence of due process and the use of the death penalty in this highly politically charged case, by Tajikistan’s Supreme Court in sentencing 11 Islamists to death and jail for a further 74. The accused were convicted of murders and a range of other offences covering a five year period from 1995 to 2000.

The 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 Islamic 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.

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 Chairman Massoud Shadjareh stated:

“We are greatly concerned about the verdict, especially the death sentences. We call for a complete moratorium on all executions in Tajikistan. More importantly, the Supreme Courts’ decision shows it to be little more than an extension of Rakhmonov’s office. This only serves to highlight Rakhmonov’s continued insincerity to the concessions forged out of the peace process and his desire to renege on them”.

For further information, please call the press office on +44 (208) 902 0888 or (+44) 7958 522 196.

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8902 0888
Fax (+44) 20 8902 0889