Arrests of the Tajik activists. In Moscow, Maksud Ibragimov is missing.

On January 2015, in Moscow, the leader and founder of the organisation "Youth of Tajikistan for the revival of Tajikistan" Maksud Ibragimov went missing. There is evidence that suggests he was extradited to Tajikistan.

Maksud Ibragimov
Maksud Muhidinovich Ibragimov was born on 3 November 1977 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. He is a founder and Chairman of the Russian youth organisation "Youth of Tajikistan for the revival of Tajikistan". He is a member of the governing board of an opposition coalition "New Tajikistan", which includes the "Group 24".

In 2004 Maqsud Ibragimov renounced citizenship of Tajikistan and acquired citizenship of the Russian Federation. He has been in permanent residence in Russia for more than 10 years. In December Ibragimov learned that his "citizenship of the Russian Federation was revoked". According to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, a citizen of the Russian Federation can not be deprived of his nationality. Therefore, under the "deprivation of citizenship" one can only understand that Ibragimov’s receiving of the Russian citizenship was declared illegal retroactively. He did not have time to find out why this was the case, because he was busy getting a treatment after the attack by a group of people that resulted in him getting six stab wounds. You can read more about it in our press release "Russia: an attempt on the life of a member of the Tajik opposition Maksud Ibragimov" dated 1 December 2014.The attackers have not yet been found.

Ibragimov is actively engaged in social and political life since 2013. He repeatedly appeared in the media with criticism of the leadership of Tajikistan.

He participated in discussions and conferences, which discussed the situation of young people in Russia. He represented the Tajik youth living in Russia. At the initiative of Tajik youth activists in Moscow and with the support of the Government of Moscow, on 2 September 2014 in "Moscow House of Nationalities", a round table talks entitled "Interaction of public authorities and civil society in matters of harmonisation of interethnic and interfaith relations" took place. Maqsud Ibragimov presented a report entitled “Protecting the rights of migrant workers in modern Russia: the interaction with public authorities and civil society", as a chairman of the organisation "Youth of Tajikistan for the revival of Tajikistan."

Tajik authorities responded to Maksud Ibragimov’s political activity and popularity among young people and his supporters.

  • On 26 November 2014 in Moscow, he received six stab wounds. There were two assailants, they fled.
  • On 20 January 2015 he went missing in Moscow, although after the attack on him, he was guarded by Russian law enforcement agencies.
  • On 23 January 2015 in the Department №54 of Moscow City of the Minisstry Internal Affairs Ibragimov’s mother was told that he was detained and released the same day.
  • On 26 January 2015 a source at the Preobrazhenskiy District Court of Moscow, who wished to remain anonymous, told Ibragimov’s relatives that he was extradited to Tajikistan.
Attempts to get an official response from the public authorities of Russia about the whereabouts of Maksud Ibragimov continue.

  • Since November 2014 in Russia arrests of natives of Tajikistan - activists of "Youth of Tajikistan for the revival of Tajikistan" are taking place. They began when the Russian Ministry of Justice refused to register the organisation. Its members are natives of Tajikistan, mostly migrant workers, some of whom became Russian citizens
  • All those who openly criticised the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, at home face prosecution under Article 307 of the Criminal Code of Tajikistan, "Public appeals to change the constitutional order of the Republic of Tajikistan". Such acts constitute crimes against the constitutional order and security of the state and are punishable by imprisonment for up to 20 years.
  • Tajik activists are continuously refused the right to permanent residence in Russia. They began to return to Tajikistan, where the state agencies began to arrest them. Several people have been arrested in Russia at the request of Tajikistan.
                                         Individuals arrested in Russia:

Nuriddin Rizoevich Bafoev, date of birth 10.04.1970, born in the Asht district of the Leninabad region of Tajikistan. He was detained in Moscow on 11.25.2014.

Mekhrubon Khasanovich Sattarov, date of birth 14.05.1989, born in Khatlon region. He is registered as residing in Konibodom city of the Sogd region. He is detained in pre-trial detention centre No.4 of Moscow since 03.12.2014.

Abdurakhim Ilkhomidinovich Vosiev, date of birth 21.05.1987, born in Kubadiyan district of the Kurgan-Tyube region. He is detained in pre-trial detention centre No.4 of  Moscow since 12.11.2014.

Karim Abdualimovich Obidov, date of birth is not known to us. He is detained in Moscow.

Sulaymon Chabirov, date of birth is not known to us. He lived in Samara and is detained in the pre-trial detention centre No.1 of Samara since 19 December 2014.

Oyatulloh Mukhiddinovich Gilyaev, date of birth 10.04.1988, born in the Leninsk district of Tajikistan. He is detained in Novosibirsk.

Roziya Khasanovna Abdurakhmonova, date of birth 01.01.1961, born in the Jaloliddin Rumi district. She is detained in Novosibirsk since 19.12.2014.

                                Individuals arrested in Tajikistan:

Nematullo Odinamatovich Kurbonov, date of birth 15.03.1989, born in Khamadoni district. He is registered as residing in the Rudaki district. He was detained in Dushanbe on 09.10.2014, after his return home as a result of threats to his family.

Umedjon Mirzodavlatovich Solikhov, date of birth 15.10.1984, born in the Vosey deistrict of the Kulyab region. He was detained in Dushanbe, after his return home as a result of threats to his family.

Sherzod Komilov, date of birth 20.10.1992, born in the Shakhriston district of the Sogdiy region of Tajikistan. He was detained in Dushanbe, after his return home as a result of threats to his family.

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia expresses concern about the mass persecution of opposition coalition "New Tajikistan", which consists of informal organisations such as "Youth of Tajikistan for the revival of Tajikistan" and "Group 24", based in Russia, Tajikistan and Turkey.


Statement of the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia

We would like to address the political opposition group of Tajikistan the “Group 24” and its supporters.

In addition, our statement is a response to an insulting message we received with reference to the personal page of Umarali Kuvatov. We are accused of, allegedly, failing to act, in defence of the leader of the "Group of 24" Umarali Kuvatov. The message we received says: "Get on with your duties <…>! OR get lost!" We perceive this as a threat addressed at us. Such behaviour is unacceptable.

In its task of informing the public about the results of monitoring of protection of human rights, the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia is guided by the main principles of human rights organisations which are independence, objectivity and reliability. We urge you not to encroach on these principles.


Turkey: the leader of «Group 24» Umarali Kuvatov faces a threat of extradition

The leader of a political movement of Tajikistan «Group 24» Umarali Kuvatov is in detention in Istanbul since 19 December 2014.

According to current information available to our organisation, Umarali Kuvatov is detained in the police department for foreigners of the Bureau of Centre for Deportations (Yabancilar Şubesi Sinsrdişi Işlemleri ve Geri Gönderme Merkezi Büro Amirliği). Before that he was held in the Gayreteppe police station of Istanbul (Istanbul Gayrettepe Asayis Sube Mudurlugu Hirsizlik Buro Amirligi). 

Umarali Kuvatov
Umarali Izatovich Kuvatov was born on 21 November 1968 in the city of Dushanbe. He is a citizen of Tajikistan, married and has children. He is an entrepreneur.

From 2001 to 2012 U. Kuvatov, in cooperation with Shamsullo Sokhibov, the sun-in-law of the President Imomali Rakhmon, worked on shipment of fuel to the NATO base in Afghanistan. As a result of a conflict with Sokhibov, he had to leave the country and became a member of the opposition.

In 2012 Kuvatov became a leader of the «Group 24» movement, which campaigns for stopping the President of Tajikistan. In 2014 Tajikistan declared the «Group 24» an «extremist organisation».

Kuvatov has been living in Turkey since July 2014. He entered Turkey on a passport to someone else's name, explaining that it was the only way to avoid his arrest on departure from Bishkek. In 2013, in Bishkek, Kuvatov applied for international protection under the UNHCR and his case is still pending. In the first days after his arrival, he registered with the UNHCR Office in Istanbul. However, he did not register with the Turkish police which lead to a violation of administrative law of Turkey.

Tajikistan declared Kuvatov as a wanted person and calls the "Group of 24" an extremist organisation.

About 8:30 AM, on 19 December 2014, 7 plain clothed men stormed into the house in Istanbul where Umarali Kuvatov lives with his family. They asked him to identify himself after which they lead away him and other three members of the «Group 24» who were in his house. His house was searched; appliances and a large number of documents relating to political activity of the leader were seized.

The UNHCR is aware of Umarali Kuvatov’s detention, but until now the UNHCR representatives have not visited him and they did not provide legal representation for him. The lawyer hired by Umarali Kuvatov’s wife was able to review the case file, but copies of the documents were seized from him. According to Kuvatov’s wife, copies of documents were taken from the lawyer in front of her, they said that it is a special case and therefore the information was classified. As it appears, the case materials contain some information that Kuvatov reported only to the UNHCR.

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia — AHRCA expresses its concern about the situation of the leader of Tajik opposition organisation “Group 24” Umarali Kuvatov and his colleagues Husain Ashuro (date of birth 01.02.1981), Sukhrob Turaev (date of birth 24.11.1978), Abdurashid Khomidov (date of birth 15.12.1989). They all are citizens of Tajikistan. We call on the UNHCR to enforce the principle of confidentiality in this regard, as well as effective international protection from torture and forced extradition to Tajikistan.

Kazakhstan: a prisoner is tortured and forced to leave «Khizb ut-Takhrir»

In Dzheskasgan prison camp, the prisoner Rafis Galiulin is subjected to torture.

Rafis Galiulin
Rafis Rafitovich GALIULIN was born on 29 December 1970 in the city of Astana (former Tselinograd). He is a Kazakhstan national, married and has three children. He is a member of «Khizb ut-Takhrir” and does not hide his beliefs. He is in custody since October 2009. 

On 28-29 October 2014 the prisoner Galuulin was transferred to the prison No. 159/25 which is a Department of the Correctional System located in the Karaganda region. People call this place the Dzhezgan Camp. From 6 to 11 November 2014 he was ordered, under torture, to carry out derogatory orders and forced to give a statement denouncing his membership of “Khizb ut-Takhrir” in front of a video camera. Galiulin was repeatedly beaten in the region of his liver, kidneys and his lower back by 10 people. 

From 21 November to 6 December 2014 Galipulin was held in solitary confinement in violation of terms of the regime. 

From 8 to 22 December 2014 he was held in isolation as a punishment. 

On 13 December 2014 Galiulin was refused the right to meet his wife under a pretext that she did not meet the requirements for a pass warrent when searched. His wife was told that the meeting was cancelled because he violated the order of the detention facility. The meeting was postponed until 24 December 2014. During the next 10 days the prison employees applied ointments to his body to cover up the traces of his injuries.   

Rafis Galiulin arrived at the Dzhezkazgan prison (the institution entitled ДУИС 159/25) from the detention facility titled LA 155/1 [ЛА-155/1] of the Management Committee of the Correctional System  of the Almaty and Almaty region.
  • State of his health 
In one month of his detention in the Dzhezkazgan Camp, Rafis Galiululin lost about 10 kg of body weight. His eyes are getting worse and he lost many of his teeth. All the petitions made asking for medical care are ignored. When his teeth got infected, he had to pull them out and stop the bleeding himself. Any medication brought by his relatives is not passed on to him. Galiulin often gets acute abdominal pain. 
  • The arrest
On 3 October 2009 was arrested by the Kazakhstan National Security Committee (KNB) agents in the apartment he was renting. On the same day he and other five detained [fraudsters] were tortured and forced to give self-incriminating evidence. Their arms were twisted (a method of torture called “the swallow”), their heads were banged against a concrete floor, they were raped using truncheons. Their bodies and faces are bruised.
  • The Sentence
On 3 August 2010 Galiulin was sentenced to 7 years of imprisonment under the following Articles of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan:
         — 164, part 2 (Incitement of Social, National, Tribal, Racial, or Religious Enmity);
         — 233-1, part 1 (Promotion of terrorism or public appeals for commission of an act of terrorism, and equally distribution of materials of said contents);
         — 337-1, part 1 (Organisation of the activity of a public or religious association or other organisation after a Court order abolishing it, or banning such activity because of  its extreme nature);
         — 337-1, part 2 (Taking part in the activity of a public or religious association or other organisation after a Court order abolishing it, or banning such activity because of  its extreme nature).
  • The Appeal
Conviction of Rafis Galiulin was appealed to all instances of the Courts, including to the Supreme Court of Kazakhstan and the Prosecutor’s Office, the Administration of the President of Kazakhstan, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the government investigative agencies, Chief Department of the Kazakhstan National Security Committee, the Punitive-Execution Committee at the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan. All appeals of his case were reviewed very formalistically. The evidence of torture used against Galiunin is reviewed not in presence of his defence lawyers and he was forced to give written statements to the contrary. 
  • Practice of torture 
Since his arrest and detention Rafis Galiulin is being abused and tortured. The representatives of authorities exert psychological and physical pressure on him. Galiulin is contained in conditions that do not allow investigation of his torture. In Kazakhstan, cruelty to members of informal religious groups, communities and organisations became the norm of the system.
  • Pressure on the family 
Natalia Valerievna Galiulina (Rafis Galiulin’s wife), date of birth 14 April 1980, a citizen of Kazakhstan, is prosecuted.

She was accused of having "extreme religious views" and posting in the Internet of a video message in defence of her husband.

In 2013, while living in Kazakhstan, Galiulina was found guilty under Part 2 of Article 233-1 of the Criminal Code of Kazakhstan (Promotion of terrorism or extremism or public incitement to commit an act of terrorism). She faces imprisonment of up to 5 years in a penal colony. The Saryark District Court № 2 of Astana handed down a suspended sentence. According to her defence, Natalia Galiulina’s guilt is not proven. The Court did not identify the IP-address belonging to her, her login or the source of upload of the video into the Internet network. Her defence is convinced that Galiulina is prosecuted to prevent her husband from defending against his trumped-up charges.

*   *   *
The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia - AHRCA draws attention of the international community to the fact that such actions of the authorities of Kazakhstan contradict the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan and commitments this country made when it ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Articles 7, 10, 18 , 19, 26), the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Article 15), the UN Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognised Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Detention or Imprisonment in any Form (Principles 1, 6, 21).


Azerbaijan: Arif Yunus a human rights activist turned 60

Arif Yunus
Head of the Department of Conflict and 
Migration Institute of Peace and Democracy
Ph.D. in History and conflicts,
Member of the Council of the Association
for Human Rights in Central Asia, 

Members of the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia express their respect and congratulate our colleague, a prisoner of conscience, Arif Yunus on his birthday. On 12 January 2015 he turned 60 years old.

Since 5 August 2014 Arif Yunus is held in the detention centre of the Ministry of Security of Azerbaijan. He is isolated and held in conditions comparable to abuse and it is undermining his health. His blood pressure often rises. The complete absence of information about the prisoner's wife and lack of perspectives of justice brought depression and it is having a tall on his health. Shortly before his arrest, he was in the hospital with a diagnosis of pre-stoke condition. Petitions of lawyers to change the measure of restraint went unheeded.

His wife, Leyla Yunus is in pre-trial detention centre of Baku. According to people who have seen her recently, she was reported to have a great difficulty in moving because of immobility of her left leg, her eye-sight is getting worse. Her body is exhausted and practically no longer can take any food.

During the five months of imprisonment of Arif and Leyla Yunus, three lawyers were taken off the case only for the fact that they fulfilled their professional duties. Over the entire period of the imprisonment, the investigator carried out only one interview; at all other times, the course of the investigation is not clear either to the detainees or their lawyers.

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia - AHRCA calls on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur on Torture and the Special Rapporteur of the European Union for Human Rights, the European Commissioner for Human Rights and the governments of the democratic community to press for immediate release of Arif and Leyla Yunus. We also urge the US Ambassador to Azerbaijan to pay special attention to the situation of the prisoners Arif and Leyla Yunus because of deterioration of their health.

We ask the US Ambassador to make the terms of their release clear – there is no investigation and there should not be one.


«We are Charlie»

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia deeply mourns the victims of violence, carried out by terrorists in the «Charlie Hebdo» magazine. We feel great sorrow together with relatives of the victims.

On 7 January 2015 in Paris, in the office of the French satirical magazine «Charlie Hebdo» (a weekly) 10 employees and 2 policemen were killed. Ten people were injured, four of them are in critical condition.

Religious belief is a private matter of an individual, and no one has the right to kill those whose views one "does not like". If someone does not agree with the position of the opponent, one can argue orally or in writing, using the right of expression. Shooting of «Charlie Hebdo» employees is shooting at freedom of speech, a stronghold of tolerance and democracy.

This act or terror is an attack on human rights. Paragraph 2 of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states: “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice”. Protection of this right is one of the most important tasks of the state. Militant religious fanatics are closely monitoring the situation in France: Will the leadership of the country do everything possible to prevent an attack on freedom and civilization? If not - this will increase the offensive. Cartoons or any other form of freedom of expression would be just an excuse for an attack. 

The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia condemns the killing and violence. Our team is convinced that the terrorist attacks only unite us all in faced with the threat of rising Islamophobia. It should be remembered that peaceful Muslims are not related to the actions of religious radicals. We express our solidarity with the participants of mass meetings in defence of human rights and freedom of speech.

photo: by Temur Klichev / AHRCA, 7 January 2015, Paris 

photo: by Temur Klichev / AHRCA, 7 January 2015, Paris 

photo: by Temur Klichev / AHRCA, 7 January 2015, Paris