In recent days, the Tajik government has dramatically increased pressure on family members and relatives of political activists still living in Tajikistan in order to force exiled activists to end to their political, legal and media activities.
Government representatives have detained and interrogated the relatives of political exiles, organized and sent groups of young people and women to protest in front of their houses, held meetings of people of the town or village where they accused activists of propagating against the government. Such psychological punishment for family members and other acts have become the routine work of Tajik security officials and authorities these days across the country. These acts, that have taken place across the country, are not carried out arbitrarily, but are, according to reliable sources, planned and monitored by authorities at the highest level.
The Executive Council of the IRPT strongly condemns the systematic abuses of the authorities against elderly persons and innocent children, considering these acts as crimes and an example of state terrorism. Due to its continuing failure in the field of domestic and international politics, Tajikistan’s government shows its real ruthless and oppressive face and it is now taking revenge on elderly persons and the defenseless. The authorities threaten those they target with harsher treatment if they inform international organizations or embassies or the media about what the authorities have done against them. According to the authorities, the only way of avoiding oppression for family members and relatives is to convince their beloved ones to cease their engagement in politics.
In recent days, these pressures have increased as the opposition in exile organized an international conference, which was held on 20th anniversary of the Tajik Peace Accord on 9 July 2017 in Dortmund, Germany. Here are a few incidents that have taken place during last few days:
- On 7 July, at about 10 o’clock in the morning, the prosecution, police and security officials visited the house of Jannatulloh Komilov, the IRPT’s representative in Germany and member of the party’s Executive Council, in Sebiston Jamaat, Danghara district. They subjected his ill and elderly mother, Saima Kulova and his brothers Zubaidulloh and Ubaidulloh Komilovs to intimidation and harassment. The authorities threatened to confiscate their houses and lands if Mr. Jannatullah did not cancel the anti-government conference in Dortmund and surrender to Tajik government. Two days later, on 9 July 2017, security officials detained his father-in-law, Mr. Zubaidulloh Atovulloev and kept him in custody until the evening.
- On 7 and 8 July, a group of ten security personnel from Kulob went to the house of Taghoimurod Kayumov, father of Bobojon Kayumov, the IRPT’s representative in Turkey and member of the party’s Executive Council, in Kool village in Dahana jamaat of Kulob district and subjected his elderly 68-year old father and his 65-year old mother to harassment, pressure and threats. Authorities threatened their house would be demolished, if their son, Mr. Bobojon Kayumov, participated in organizing the conference in Europe. His parents were forced to speak against their son and his political activities in front of cameras. On 9 July, the day the Peace conference was held in Dortmund, Kayumov’s father was invited to the office of Kulab security department and was kept there until the night, facing pressure and harassment.
- One day after the Peace conference in Dortmund and his speech in this conference, security officials went to the house of Dilbar Zuhurova, wife of lawyer Jamshed Yorov, who is the brother of jailed lawyer Buzurgmehr Yorov, locates in Flat #3, Street D. Barot in Vahdat city. They took her and her children to the security committee’s office in Dushanbe and they were interrogated about the activities of Jamshed Yorov outside the country.
- Asomuddin Saidov, father of Islomiddin Saidov, the IRPT’s representative in Poland and member of the party’s Executive Council, a resident of Pandowchi Saridasht village, Safedchashma (previously Samsolik) jamaat of Nurabad district, was harshly interrogated in the main office of National Security Committee in Dushanbe. In the course of his interrogation, the security personnel showed him pictures of his son. Islomiddin participating in the anti-government protests during the annual OSCE conference in Warsaw, Poland in September 2016. They threatened him with consequences if his son would not give up political activities. Moreover, the security services went to the house of his sister, who lives in Dushanbe city, but refused to disclose her name under interrogation, saying she has not been in touch with her brother since he left the country. On 9 and 10 July, the security officials and police gathered the people of Islomiddin’s village, including his father and he was asked to stand up, while authorities accusing his son of working against the government and was told that he should bring his son back to the country. After these days of pressures and oppression, the health of his mother, who suffers from heart problems, has deteriorated.
- On 11 July, security officials and police went to the house of the father of Mahmudjon Faizrahmonov, spokesman for the IRPT, in Pakhtakor village, Panj Jamaat of Jaihun (previously Kumsangir) district and took his 61-year old mother, Masnavikhon Faizrahmonova, to the office of the Jamaat. After interrogation, the government organized a meeting of the people of Pakhtakor village, including his mother, and criticized her son. The authorities said, Mr. Faizrahmonov and his brothers are encouraging people to join in the protest against the government and he should stop his activities. The interrogation and meeting continued for hours and his mother returned home, but her health deteriorated. The main goal of people’s meeting is to marginalize his family in the village as a kind of social sanction and punishment. After this meeting and previous interrogations, people of the village became very cautious about dealing and contacting family members. Husainjon Faizrahmonov, his younger brother, complains that due to these interrogations and pressures, his friends and classmates are afraid to contact him.
- On 7 July, relatives of Ilhomjon Yoqubov, former head of the IRPT’s chapter in Sughd province, were summoned by security officials in Khujand city and were subjected to special sessions of “explanatory” meetings and psychological pressure.
- Similarly, security officials in Jaihun (previously Kumsangir) district in 8 July went to Abdumuslim Rustamov, brother of Iftikhor Rustamov, a supporter of the IRPT, as well as to the houses of his sisters Sabohat Khodjhaeva and Zarnigor Rustamova, interrogating and subjecting them to pressure based on their brother’s political activities.
- On 8 July, the authorities of Rudaki district went to the house of Muhammadi Teshaev, former head of the IRPT’s chapter in this district, interrogating his family members for his activities and threatening their house would be confiscated, if Mr. Teshaev does not stop his political activities.
- Before holding the Peace conference in Dortmund, the security officials and police went to the house of the parents of Mrs. Gulbarg Saifova, a relative of Mr. Muhiddin Kabiri, chairman of the IRPT, forcing them to be recorded in front of the camera to condemn Mr. Kabiri’s activities. Mrs. Gulbarg Saifova was the IRPT’s nominee for parliament in the 2015 parliamentary elections and left the country after pressures increased and sought refuge in Poland.
- On 7 July, police and other authorities went to the house of parents of Mrs. Mijhgona and Savriniso Amonova in Firdavsi district of Dushanbe city, subjecting his father to pressure. They told their father, his daughters are with “traitors” (the Tajik opposition) in Europe, while propagating against the government and “janobi oli” (His Highness referred to Emomali Rahmon in Tajikistan) and they should return and ask forgiveness from “janobi oli”.
Therefore, the IRPT’s Executive Council would like to draw the attention of human rights organizations, Embassies, media and all those who wish to uphold human rights, to the worsening crackdown on human rights in Tajikistan. Unfortunately, most Tajik citizens do not complain or inform international organizations and media of the serious violations of their basic human rights, because they are afraid of facing the worse situation and also frustrated that their previous complaints did not result in any action. As a result, most victims prefer silence to complain.
At the same time, the IRPT’s Executive Council urge the government to stop these cowardly and inhuman acts and to cease using relatives of political activists as hostages. These shameful actions have not and will not stop the opposition from struggling for freedom. On the contrary, these acts reinforce the will of the people to fight for their rights and eradicate the violence carried out by authorities.
On the other hand, these shameful actions show that the fate of the nation and state is in the hands of those who have no any respect to law, have no universal, national and religious values and are ready to do use any means to secure their positions and chairs.
Executive Council of the IRPT