On December 26, 2022, the Ismoili Somoni District Court of Dushanbe sentenced the famous Tajik journalist and blogger Abdusattor Pirmuhammadzoda to seven years in prison.
Reportedly, Abdukarim Pirmuhammadzoda, the brother of this political prisoner, informed Radio Ozodi, RFE/RL’s Tajik language service and said that his relatives and loved ones did not agree with the court verdict.
Abdusattor Pirmuhammadzoda’s relatives said that they did not have a copy of the verdict, but he was found guilty of cooperation with banned organizations (Article 307, Addition 3, Part 2).
In his letter, which he wrote from pre-trial detention center, the imprisoned journalist denied any cooperation with banned organizations in the country.
The Tajik authorities, including officials of the Ismoili Somoni District Court of Dushanbe, have not yet commented on the situation.
As Abdusattor Pirmuhammadzoda was sentenced to seven years in prison, previously he wrote a letter from inside of pre-trial detention center and said that he admitted to these crimes, which he did not commit, under severe torture (they beat and electrocuted him, he said he almost died).
“Eight to ten days of torture, complete isolation, threats, insults and offence addressed to my family members made me admit the deeds I didn’t commit”, said Journalist Abdusattor Pirmuhammadzoda in his handwritten letter.
Pirmuhammadzoda also said in his letter that he did not believe in the independence of the courts in Tajikistan and was sure that his verdict “was passed in the government’s office before he was arrested”.
Recall that Abdusattor Pirmuhammadzoda was arrested on July 8, 2022 in the city of Vahdat.
Pirmuhammadzoda was arrested as a result of a special operation by the Tajik law enforcement agencies. In the last six months, seven bloggers and journalists were arrested in Tajikistan and sentenced to 7 to 21 years in prison.
The authorities accused most of these journalists of publishing false information and cooperation with banned organizations. Their trials were held behind closed doors in pre-trial detention center.
Buzurgmehr Foundation regards the arrest and imprisonment of Tajik journalists arbitrary and pressure on the Tajik civil society and calls on the Tajik authorities to immediately and unconditionally release them from prisons.