Thursday, February 22nd, 2024

The letter of Buzurgmehr Yorov’s mother to the authorities

To the Chairman of the Administration of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Dear Ozoda Rahmon,

To the Head of the Main Department for the Implementation of Criminal Sanctions of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Tajikistan,

Honorable Mansurjon Umarov,

Prosecutor for Control over Execution of Laws in Correctional Institutions of Dushanbe city and districts subordinated to the Center.

On behalf of the citizen of the Republic of Tajikistan, a resident of the city of Dushanbe, located at 66A

M. Mirshakar Street, I, Iskhakova Khurinisso, the mother of prisoner Yorov Buzurhmehr Ravshanovich, would like to bring the following matter to your attention:

Phone: 919351391

Statement

Dear Ozoda Rahmon, Mansurjan Umarov, and the prosecutor of law enforcement supervision in the correctional institutions of Dushanbe city and districts subordinate to the center,

I am an elderly mother of prisoner Buzurhmehra Yorov, who is currently in Dushanbe SIZO #1. It is with great concern that I write to you regarding the repeated initiation of fraud cases against my son. I want to clarify that my intention is not to debate his guilt or innocence, nor am I requesting his immediate release. As a citizen and a mother, my demand is for justice to prevail. I implore you to ensure that my son is given the opportunity to defend himself and exercise his constitutional rights. It is crucial that his arguments and words are heard.

I am reaching out to you because I have faith in your ability to help and intervene in this matter.

Given my lack of confidence in the fairness, impartiality, and thoroughness of the investigation conducted by the Interior Ministry’s investigators, I place my hope in your hands. I trust that upon reviewing my plea, you will take appropriate legal action against any individuals within our country’s correctional institutions who engage in arbitrary practices. Such individuals, who demonstrate cynicism and ambition, considering themselves masters of the penitentiary system, are responsible for numerous criticisms not only against the criminal punishment system but also for tarnishing the image of Tajikistan on the international stage. Undoubtedly, such individuals can be deemed traitors for betraying the state’s interests and the government’s efforts to align the criminal justice system with international standards. Their behavior diminishes the reputation of state authorities.

Currently, my son Buzurhmehr Yorov is detained in detention center №1 in Dushanbe. The

investigators from the Ministry of Internal Affairs have initiated a case against him under part 4 of article

247. By the decision of the head of the Investigative Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the case has been classified, prohibiting the broadcasting and dissemination of information about it. I question the legal basis for opening a case of “fraud.” Does this case involve intimate life details or state secrets? Or does it provide an opportunity to influence witnesses and plaintiffs? I am aware that our courts disregard recantations of testimonies by witnesses, victims, or defendants, as they consistently rely on the initial testimony. Therefore, why was my son’s case, involving alleged fraud, classified? Doesn’t this indicate the unlawful persecution of Buzurhmehr? Could independent media and international organizations potentially label this case against my son as “political”?

Allow me to address the main content of my statement. The information I obtained from Buzurhmehr’s letters, which were circulated in the media, has helped shed light on the sequence of events and the origins of the case. As of now, I have not had the opportunity to meet my son personally, nor am I fully aware of the specifics of his case. Buzurhmehr’s letter indicates that the staff of IAS 3/1 correctional facility in Vahdat city perceived him as a severe violator of the institution’s internal order, resulting in his transfer to the punishment cell and the submission of his case to Vahdat court to change the conditions of his detention. On November 9 of last year, Deputy Head of the institution, Lieutenant Colonel B. Tursunov, along with officers Major Orif and Davlatov Akhliddin, sent him to the punishment cell for allegedly failing to report to them according to the institution’s procedures. They subsequently forwarded the case to court, portraying him as a serious violator of the system. My son’s letter revealed that I requested the retrieval of my prison file from the court to verify that I am not a serious violator of the system. It is noteworthy that in 2021 and 2022 alone, Buzurgmehr Yorov received numerous commendations, totaling eight or nine each year, for his exemplary behavior. Notably, the library under his direction was even recognized as the Library of the Year among correctional facilities. On Independence Day, September 9, 2022, he was honored with a letter of appreciation accompanied by a photo, personally signed by Mansurjan Umarov.

It is precisely due to these reasons that I direct my appeal to you, Mansurjan Umarov. How is it possible that a man whom you have thanked and praised multiple times throughout the year, even granting him unscheduled short and long-term visits as a reward, could suddenly be labeled as a serious violator of the institution’s system? The biased actions of Safarov Manuchehr and his accomplices, who have deliberately intensified my son’s punishment, indicate their disregard for the pardon certificates issued by you, rendering them insignificant and of no value. It appears as though giving a hundred letters of thanks to a prisoner to expedite their reformation and incentivize them for good behavior and deeds plays no role, as you are distanced from the daily interactions with prisoners to whom they can voice their complaints.

The behavior described can be attributed to the actions of Safarov Manuchehr, Arif, and Davlatov Ahliddin, with the support of the institution’s head, Tursunov B. It is important to note that my son has been fighting against injustice, corruption, and criminal activities committed by the staff of this institution, even during his time in prison. These individuals have been involved in illicit activities, including but not limited to accepting bribes, engaging in abuse of power and office (Articles 314 and 316), extortion (Article 250), bribery (Article 319), receiving rewards through extortion (Article 324), failure to report and concealing crimes (Article 347), as well as subjecting prisoners to torture.

Buzurmehr, my son, reported these incidents and the criminal behavior of the prison staff to Judge Ismoil Somoni of the district court, 3\1. On February 6, 2023, he visited the prison where my son was held. Unfortunately, the judge has not taken any action as required by the law regarding the reporting of such crimes. This negligence was one of the reasons why my son faced a defamation lawsuit. The second reason, as explained by the investigators themselves, was a retaliation for my son’s involvement in prosecuting former investigator Khakimov Muzafar, who committed a crime in the initial Buzurgmehr case and later served a sentence. Consequently, my son became a target of Safarov Manuchehr, the deputy head of 3\1 of the institution, by order of Ministry of Internal Affairs personnel who were once Khakimov’s colleagues and possibly had personal or familial connections.

Despite my son’s commendable actions and receiving praise and letters of gratitude, Manuchehr Safarov worsens Buzurgmehr’s situation. He instigates other prisoners against my son, restricts their communication with him, unjustly confines him in isolation, and coerces a prisoner named Hasanov Hasan into preparing a false statement. Hasanov himself contacted us, informing us about my son’s situation and seeking assistance for his family, who had traveled from a distant location. Hasanov Hasan also revealed that Manuchehr Safarov and his criminal associates exerted pressure and subjected prisoners to torture to

coerce them into writing statements against Yorov. Later, Hasanov informed us that he was compelled to write a petition against Buzurgmehr.

Furthermore, the manner in which my son was transferred from Vakhdat prison to Dushanbe indicates a personal bias against Buzurgmehr Yorov held by Safarov Manuchehr, Orif, and other staff members, which is in direct violation of both the law and internal regulations. As stated by Buzurgmehr, “On November 23, we were forcibly taken to court like dogs being dragged,” and “Despite the cold weather, they did not allow us to bring our warm clothes and jackets.”

I appeal to Ozoda Rahmon, Umarjon Mansurov, and the prosecutor to address the ongoing misconduct within the prison system. I am left with no trust in any other authority figures. Ever since your appointment, Mansurjon Umarov, my son has informed me that prison conditions have significantly improved. It was you who acknowledged my son’s good behavior through multiple letters of appreciation. Therefore, I respectfully request you to thoroughly investigate the conduct of Lieutenant Colonel Safarov Manuchehr, Major Orif, Davlatov Akhliddin, and their superior, Tursunov B., from the IAS 3\1 VA of the RT and hold them accountable within the bounds of the law.

Prisons should serve as institutions for rehabilitation and correction, rather than as venues for vengeance and torture. I kindly request a comprehensive investigation into this matter, including discussions with prisoners, particularly my son Buzurgmehr Yorov. The presence of individuals with arbitrary and criminal tendencies within the Tajik government undermines its honor and reputation.

When I set out to draft this statement on your behalf, I encountered discouragement from several individuals who claimed that it would be futile. They insisted that the plight my son is facing is a deliberate policy of the government, and that the officials and higher-ups are all indifferent and unresponsive. I am hesitant to accept this notion. Are the defenders of human rights in Tajikistan truly characterized by such disinterest? It is with a glimmer of hope that I turn to you, appealing for your assistance.

Appendix: Enclosed is a copy of my son Buzurhmehr Yorov’s letter. Sincerely,

Iskhakova Khuriniso

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