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The right to believe, to worship and witness
The right to change one’s belief or religion
The right to join together and express one’s belief

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TAJIKISTAN: Impunity for torturers continues

Impunity for multiple instances of torture of Muslims, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Protestants continues. Conscientious objector and prisoner of conscience Jovidon Bobojonov was tortured by soldiers kneeling on his neck. Officials refuse to tell Forum 18 why suspect torturers have not been arrested and put on criminal trial for torture, as international human rights law requires. Tajikistan's assurances to the UN Human Rights Committee of introducing civilian alternative service remain unfulfilled.

TAJIKISTAN: Journalist's jailing based on "complete fabrication"

A Dushanbe court jailed journalist Daler Sharipov for one year for "extremism" and "inciting religious hatred" for writing a booklet containing "absolutely no malice or incitement there to religious hatred", and articles speaking of Islam as a religion of peace, and Muhammad as a prophet of peace. Jehovah's Witness Shamil Khakimov is serving a seven year and six month sentence on the same charges.

TAJIKISTAN: Conscientious objector tortured, jailed for two years

Nearly six months after being seized, Dushanbe's Military Court jailed 20-year-old Jehovah's Witness conscientious objector Jovidon Bobojonov today (2 April) for two years in a general regime labour camp for refusing compulsory military service. He has already appealed against his conviction. While held in the military unit, personnel tortured Bobojonov with beatings to pressure him to take the military oath and put on uniform.

TAJIKISTAN: Fines, torture for hijab-wearing, fines for Bible translation

Around 20 Muslim women were detained in a Dushanbe street for wearing a hijab, with some being fined. One, Nilufar Rajabova, stated that she was also tortured at a police station. Elsewhere, Christians were given large fines for arranging a Bible translation into Tajik.

TAJIKISTAN: Five-year jail term for conscientious objector?

The criminal trial of 19-year-old Jehovah's Witness conscientious objector Jovidon Bobojonov for refusing compulsory military service on grounds of conscience could begin at Dushanbe Military Court in early March. If convicted, he faces between two and five years in prison. He has become "emotionally and physically exhausted" since he was seized in October 2019, Jehovah's Witnesses say.

TAJIKISTAN: Churches, mosque confiscated, no sign of promised kindergarten

Sunmin Sunbogym (Full Gospel) Protestant Church's two buildings in northern Tajikistan have both been confiscated, one of them with a 2018 excuse that a kindergarten would open there - but in 2020 there is no still sign of the kindergarten. Similarly, Khujand's Nuri Islom Mosque has been turned into a cinema.

TAJIKISTAN: Alleged "extremist", alleged Shia, jail, torture

36-year-old Muslim Khayriddin Dostakov is spending his birthday in jail under criminal investigation after having been arrested and tortured. Officials allege he spread "extremist ideas", and questioned him about whether he has become a Shia Muslim or spread Shia beliefs. Dostakov "was tortured with electric shocks" and "lost consciousness several times", Bakhrom Khamroyev of Memorial told Forum 18.

TAJIKISTAN: 12-year jail term after secret trial

On 2 January a Dushanbe court jailed 35-year-old Muslim Sadriddin Mulloyev for 12 years to punish him for his earlier membership of the Muslim missionary movement Tabligh Jamaat. "With the help of our lawyer we will appeal against the Court decision," said his father. "My son is innocent." Officials refused to discuss the case or why the trial was secret.

TAJIKISTAN: Conscientious objection "a major crime"?

Jehovah's Witness conscientious objector Jovidon Bobojonov has been held since October 2019 by the military despite offering to do alternative civilian service, even though the government claimed in March 2019 to the UN Human Rights Committee that an alternative service law is being prepared.

TAJIKISTAN: Muslim faces 18-year charges, Jehovah's Witness prisoner denied Bible, Pastor freed

Prosecutors are seeking 18 years' jail for Sadriddin Mulloyev at his Dushanbe trial for membership of Muslim movement Tabligh Jamaat. Jehovah's Witness Shamil Khakimov, who is 68, failed to overturn his seven and a half-year strict regime jail term. Prison authorities still deny him a Bible. Protestant Pastor Bakhrom Kholmatov was freed on 17 December months before the end of his three-year jail term. However, an associated church in Konibodom remains closed after the regime forcibly closed it in 2017 after raiding and torturing church members, as well as firing them from their jobs.

TAJIKISTAN: Pensioner jailed until August 2026

In a closed hearing in prison in Khujand, 69-year-old Jehovah's Witness Shamil Khakimov was on 10 September given a strict regime jail sentence of seven years, six months for allegedly "inciting religious hatred". On release in August 2026, aged 74, Khakimov would be banned from religious activity until August 2029. "I am guilty of nothing," he told the court and is expected to appeal.

TAJIKISTAN: Pensioner faces up to 10 years' imprisonment

The criminal trial of 68-year-old Jehovah's Witness Shamil Khakimov in Khujand resumes on 19 August. He faces up to 10 years' imprisonment for "inciting religious hatred", charges he denies. Prosecutors claim materials confiscated from him and others contained "features of extremist activity". The investigation revealed a 2016 state "expert analysis" by three Imams claiming the distribution of a Tajik Bible translation causes "confrontation".

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