22 october 2017

Central Asia news

Lawyer serving 28 years imprisonment in Tajikistan regularly falls victim of torture

28.09.2017 13:53 msk

Fergana


Buzurgmehr Yorov
The lawyer serving a 28 years' term in prison in Tajikistan on politically motivated charges, Buzurgmekhr Yorov, endures constant beatings during the whole period of detention, which in the last month reached the highest brutality. Buzurgmehr himself told his mother about the atrocities during her visit to the detention facility on 27 September. The lawyer's mother, Khuriniso Iskhokova, received permission to visit her son for the first time in nine months, Human Rights Vision Foundation (HRVF) said.

"Every morning, facility employees beat, kicking and clubbing him and his cellmates. Recently, Buzurgmehr Yorov spent several days three times in a punishment cell. The blows reached all parts of the body and to the head. Because of the beatings, Buzurgmehr rushed to the hospital within SIZO [the detention facility]. After several days of treatment, the officers continued their violent actions against him. They accompany beatings with gross insults, humiliations and threats. Sadriddin Sharipov (Sharifzoda), the head of SIZO, is aware of the actions of the SIZO employees.

The life of Buzurgmehr Yorov is under threat. From the first day of his arrest, he sustains severe torture and beatings, as his clothes handed over his relatives testify about it. Continuing to suffer from such beatings Buzurgmehr may not even achieve his transfer from SIZO to prison. In this way, law enforcement officers try to prove to everyone that the attention of the world community to the lawyer's case will only exacerbate his situation and adversely affect his health," the message informs on the HRVF website.

Human rights activists note that both civil society and by delegations from the participating countries raised the issue of the unlawful conviction and imprisonment of Buzurgmehr Yorov during the annual OSCE / ODIHR Human Dimension Meeting held recently in Warsaw.

The authors of the statement urge the UN Human Rights Committee, the OSCE, the United States, Canada, the European Union to pay close attention to "the extremely violent offenses law enforcement agencies of Tajikistan committed towards the unlawfully convicted lawyer Buzurgmehr Yorov which puts his life at great risk, take sanctions measures against arbitrary officials and assist in the release of the lawyer.

Meanwhile, the management SIZO denies the use of violence against Yorov. "The convicted individual does not complain about the conditions of detention and has never stated about torture or ill-treatment," the head of SIZO Sadriddin Sharifzoda said Ozodi Radio (the Tajik service of Radio Liberty). According to him, Buzurgmehr is busy preparing to appeal and other documents in court. "No one hinders him in it. He says that it is not the first time that there are rumours of torture of him," Sharifzoda said.

Buzurgmehr Yorov was arrested on 28 September 2015 of charges of fraud and forgery of documents. It happened a few days after he had stood up for the protection of members of the currently banned Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (PIVT) and had led the Public Committee for the Prevention and Interception of Unlawful Detention, Arrest, Search and Detention. By the time of the arrest, Mr Yorov was dealing with the cases of seven detained members of the PIVT.

Later, the authorities detained lawyer Nuriddin Mahkamov, who was a member the “Sipar” Bar Association, Mr Yorov had been a member of which too. Before his detention, Nuriddin Mahkamov intended to defend the interests of his arrested colleague, but could not receive a warrant for his protection. Soon, the authorities charged the lawyers with “extremism”, “calls for a violent overthrow of the constitutional order” and the “incitement of national, racial and religious hatred.”

The court of Dushanbe city on 6 October 2015 sentenced Yorov to 23 years, and Mahkamov - to 21 years of imprisonment with serving a sentence in a strict regime colony.

In mid-October in 2016, two new criminal charges against Yorov emerged. One of them is according to Article 330 (“Insulting a Representative of the Authority”) and Article 355 (“Contempt of Court”) of the Criminal Code of the Republic.

The criminal proceedings started after a dispute arose in the course of Yorov's speech in court with the last word between him and the public prosecutor Rustam Takdirzod. This case added two more years of imprisonment for Mr Yorov.

Based on other three complaints criminal proceedings started under the Article 247 “Fraud”. And in April of this year, Yorov's wife was informed about the fourth criminal case against him - this time on charges of public insulting of the Founder of Peace and National Unity - the Leader of the Nation.

The Human Rights Vision Foundation is a new human rights organisation established in 2017 in the Netherlands with the participation of Hosiyat and Jamshed Yorovs living in exile. The HRVF website notes that the organisation "does not belong to any political party, does not represent anyone's economic interests and does not follow any religious ideology," its purpose is to protect fundamental human rights and freedoms by the declared international principles.

Fergana News Agency