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Tajikistan Rejects UN Calls To Release Prisoners, Tackle Torture, Improve Media Freedom

  • RFE/RL's Tajik Service

The Tajik government has rejected the UN Human Rights Council’s call to release prisoners held on “politically motivated charges,” tackle “torture” in detention facilities, and redouble efforts to ensure media freedoms.

Tajikistan’s response to a UN review has been made public ahead of the September 22 meeting in Geneva where a UN working group and Tajikistan government representatives are scheduled to discuss the human rights situation in Tajikistan.

In the review and recommendations published in May, the UN called on Tajikistan to “immediately and unconditionally release prisoners arrested on politically motivated charges,” including members of the banned opposition groups Islamic Renaissance Party (IRPT) and Group 24.

Tajikistan banned the IRPT in 2015 as a “terrorist” organization.

The UN also called on Tajikistan to provide fair trials to jailed rights activists and defense lawyers, including Buzurgmehr Yorov, Shuhrat Qudratov, and Ishoq Tabarov and his sons.

The Tajik government, however, said there was no “political motive” in the cases against the opposition officials, activists, and lawyers.

The government also said it is “not ready yet to ratify” the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture.

The government also rejected the council’s recommendation to provide a better environment for media freedoms, saying Tajikistan has already created “all necessary conditions” for media development and free press.