The Investigation Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Tajikistan has initiated a fourth criminal case against the Tajik political prisoner Buzurhmehr Yorov.
According to information received by the Buzurgmehr Foundation, the case was initiated under Article 247, paragraph 4, sub-paragraphs “a” and “b” of the Criminal Code, which pertains to fraud committed on an especially large scale in a state of recidivism.
Allegedly, this was done at the request of a former inmate who served his sentence alongside Buzurgmehr Yorov at Vakhdat prison YS 3/1 of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Tajikistan. This article provides for a fine or imprisonment of eight to twelve years with confiscation of property, and in case of recidivism, the court imposes only the most severe type of punishment.
The substance and details of the charges against political prisoner Buzurhmehr Yorov remain unclear and have not been determined. The authorities and Mr. Yorov’s lawyer remain silent on this matter. In mid-November 2022, the administration of the colony in Vahdat where Buzurmehr Yorov was held transferred him to a high-security prison in Dushanbe. The authorities, dissatisfied with his human rights and educational work among prisoners, changed his conditions to a stricter two-year prison term. Mr. Yorov has now been transferred to Dushanbe Detention Centre No. 1 until the end of the preliminary investigation and the final court decision.
Buzurhmehr Yorov’s mother has expressed her concern that no legal organizations, lawyers, or public organizations that defend citizens and provide legal assistance are willing to take on the function of defending her son for fear of pressure from the country’s investigative or security agencies. The state-appointed lawyer who was assigned to Mr. Yorov has only been involved in the process once or twice, and due to fear of negative consequences, he does not communicate with Mr. Yorov’s relatives nor provide any information on the case.
The Buzurgmehr Foundation condemns the persecution of citizens for expressing their opinions, guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Tajikistan. The initiation of criminal proceedings against Mr. Yorov for openly disagreeing with Emomali Rahmon’s role as leader of nations and founder of peace and harmony, as well as providing legal assistance to prisoners and conducting educational activities among them, is a clear violation of basic human rights, including the right to expression, freedom of will, and legal assistance. The new criminal case against Mr. Yorov is a fabrication and has been initiated on the basis of testimony obtained by illegal means.
The Buzurgmehr Foundation demands that the Tajik authorities immediately cease the fabricated criminal case against political prisoner Buzurhmehr Yorov. Additionally, it demands an end to the practice of harassing and pressuring lawyers involved in criminal proceedings, which leads to a restriction of the right to defend the accused or renders the legal profession as a civil society institution in Tajikistan ineffective.