A court in Dushanbe on March 29 sentenced the son of a prominent functionary of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), Shamsiddin Saidov, to seven years in prison on charges of “publicly calling for a violent change in the constitutional order.” This was reported by the international human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW), calling the trial, which began on March 28, “does not meet the standards of a fair trial.”
The convicted son of the oppositionist Abdullo Shamsiddin was recently deported from Germany to Tajikistan. HRW expressed concern about this, noting that there is a possibility that the activist may be subjected to torture in his homeland.
At the trial, writes HRW, the defendant was not provided with all the guarantees that ensure a fair trial. In particular, he did not have the opportunity to refute the charges against him. “The authorities should publicly present the evidence used as the basis for his conviction, while at the same time he should be released from custody immediately,” HRW said in a statement.
The Tajik authorities have not confirmed the conviction, but activist Shamsiddin Saidov’s father, who currently resides in the European Union, told RFE/RL that his son was sentenced to seven years in prison. Shamsiddin Saidov himself is a member of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan. In January 2018, he was sentenced in absentia in his homeland to 15 years in prison on charges of “extremism”. Saidov said his 32-year-old son had been living in Germany since 2009. According to Saidov, his son was deported due to the fact that he did not renew his migration registration in time. After the deportation of his son from Germany, Saidov said that Abdullo was threatened with persecution, torture and a long prison term in his homeland.
The IRPT has previously stated that the decision to deport Shamsiddin may have been made because he provided incorrect data to the immigration service.
After the civil war in Tajikistan, the IRPT was represented in power, and since 2015 this party has been included in the list of “terrorist organizations” in Tajikistan. After the activity of the IRPT was banned in Tajikistan in 2015, dozens of party functionaries and its supporters were subjected to criminal prosecution, many of them were imprisoned, hundreds of its members and supporters found refuge in Europe and other countries. Human rights groups condemned the verdicts. The Tajik authorities have been criticized for years for cracking down on dissent in the country.