In Tajikistan, Arrested Journalist Was Forced to Testify Against Himself – Lawyer


Tajik journalist Khurshed Fozilov, who was arrested on March 6, denies being guilty of the crimes he is charged with. This was announced by his lawyer Dilafruz Samadova on her Facebook page.

He was charged under article 307 approx. 3 part 2 (Participation in the activities of banned political parties, public and religious associations).

Fozilov claims that his activities are within the framework of the legislation and policy of the country. However, as the lawyer notes, his client was forced to testify against himself.

According to the lawyer, the journalist was summoned for a conversation and then brought to administrative responsibility under article 479 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Republic of Tajikistan (disobedience to a lawful order and demand of a police officer or other persons performing duties of protecting public order).

According to his confession, he refused to give and open his phone, which was the reason for his administrative arrest for a period of 5 days and detention in the department of the State Committee for National Security in the city of Penjikent.

During this time, the journalist was interrogated about his professional activities, and he had to testify against himself, despite his statements that he was not involved in the crime.

Khurshed Fozilov appealed to the Sughd Prosecutor’s Office through his lawyer, alleging illegal arbitrary detention, violation of his right to privacy (forced to open the phone) and forced to testify against himself.

The detention of the journalist has caused concern among activists who are demanding his immediate release.

Khurshed Fozylov is 37 years old and has three children. He prepared reports for the local media in Panjakent.

Now he is in a temporary detention facility in Khujand.  

Recall that in June and July 2022, the Tajik authorities arrested  five Tajik journalists and bloggers – Daler Imomali, Abdullo Gurbati, Muhammad Sulton, Abdusattor Pirmuhammadzoda and Zavkibek Saidamini.

All of them were found guilty of links with banned organizations and extremism.

Daler Imomali was sentenced to 10 years, and four more journalists were sentenced to 7 years in prison. The reporters all denied the allegations against them and said they were innocent.

In particular, Abdusattor Pirmukhammadzoda wrote in a letter from the pre-trial detention center that he was severely tortured in the police department of the city of Vahdat so that he would accept responsibility for uncommitted crimes.

The Prosecutor General’s Office later dismissed this complaint. The cassation appeal against the verdict by the arrested journalists did not yield any results. Despite the abundance of criticism and appeals from human rights organizations, the authorities did not take any measures against these journalists.

Source: asiaplustj