Tajikistan: Treason Investigation into Blogger and Academic Alexander Sodiqov Extended
3 September 2014
Update #1 to RAN 10/14
PEN International is extremely concerned by the extension (by one year) of Tajikistan’s treason investigation into Alexander Sodiqov, the blogger and academic researcher who was arrested and charged in June 2014. After spending approximately five weeks in detention, Sodiqov was released in July. However, the conditions of his release are very strict and are likely to stay in place for the duration of the investigation: Sodiqov is prohibited from leaving Tajikistan and returning to his academic studies in Canada, he is also not allowed to speak to foreign journalists, ambassadors and human rights organisations. PEN believes that the charge against Alexander Sodiqov is politically motivated and calls for it to be dropped, and for the associated restrictions on Sodiqov’s freedom of expression and movement to be lifted.
- Write to your ambassador to Tajikistan, calling on him/her to raise Alexander Sodiqov’s politically-motivated treason charge with the Tajik government;
- Write to Tajikistan’s President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, calling on Tajikistan to drop the treason charge against Sodiqov and to lift the associated restrictions on his freedom of movement and expression.
Alexander Sodiqov, 31, is a popular blogger on Central Asian issues at Global Voices and the Tajikistan Monitor and is a PhD student at the University of Toronto, Canada. At the time of his arrest he was carrying out research in Gorno-Badakhshan as part of a mutli-country research project led by the University of Exeter, called Rising Powers and Conflict Management in Central Asia.
He was arrested by security officers on 16 June 2014 whilst interviewing an opposition leader as part of his research into conflict resolution in Gorno-Badakhshan, a region which has recently seen deadly clashes between protesters and local security forces. On 17 June 2014, the State Committee for National Security (SCNS) issued a statement accusing Sodiqov of spying for foreign governments. If convicted of treason he could face up to 20 years in jail.
For further information on Alexander Sodiqov please see PEN’s previous call to action.
You can find your ambassador to Tajikistan here.
Mr Emomali Rahmon
80 Rudaki Street
Fax: +992 372 21 68 00
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr Aslov Sirodjidin Muhridinovich,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
33 Sheroz str., Dushanbe 734001, Republic of Tajikistan
Fax: (992 37) 221-02-59
You can also tweet: #Tajikistan must drop treason charges against academic & blogger Alexander Sodiqov @pen_int
Note to PEN Centres
Please keep us informed of any action you take in regard to Alexander Sodiqov’s case.
***Please Check with PEN International if sending appeals after 27 September 2014***
For further details contact Cathal Sheerin at the Writers in Prison Committee London Office: PEN International, Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER UK Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7405 0338 Fax: + 44 (0) 20 7405 0339 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org