We, the undersigned, urge Poland to halt deportation of Khabibullo TESHAEV, the Tajik activist and Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) member and his family to Tajikistan, where they would be subjected to torture and imprisonment.
Mr. Khabibullo Teshaev (date of birth 1985-01-09), his wife and 5 children are nowadays kept at a deportation prison in Bela Padliaska, Poland near the Polish-Belarus border.
Recently, during the 39th session of the Human Rights Council, which was held in Geneva on 10-28 September 2018, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet raised the matter on human rights in Tajikistan.
Michelle Bachelet stated that they continue to receive reports of intimidation, harassment, arbitrary arrests and detention against those who legally and peacefully express dissenting views in Tajikistan.
Torture also remains a pressing issue with widespread impunity for perpetrators.
In addition, during 2018 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, organised by ODIHR/OSCE in Warsaw on 10-21 September 2018, number of human rights organisations informed on deterioration of human rights situation in Tajikistan.
In particular, it was pointed on facts showing the absence of opportunity in Tajikistan to exercise the right for fair trial and advocacy.
Dependence from law enforcement and investigating authorities remains the main issue of the system of justice in Tajikistan, while advocacy is totally controlled by executive authority.
In such circumstances, if detained, it is not possible to expect the objective investigation, adecuate judicial protection or fair trail. Persons, who fall under persecution of Tajik authorities, especially under politically motivated cases, are undertaken of their rights in the country and stay in a very vulnerable position.
The risk of deportation of Tajik activist, Khabibullo Teshaev, who had fled Tajikistan’s persecution and is fighting for justice in Poland, shows that Tajik activists are not safe even in Europe.
We would like to remind of Poland’s obligations under international law to refrain from forcibly returning any person, irrespective of the crimes of which they are accused, to a country where there is a real risk of them being subjected to torture and ill-treatment. This is a rule of general international law that applies to all states irrespective of their specific treaty obligations and is also set out in treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), as well as in the European Convention for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The CAT sets out in Article 3 the obligation of states not to expel, return or extradite a person to another State where there are grounds for believing that he would be in danger of torture in individual cases: “For the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations, including, where applicable, the existence in the State concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights”.
We, undersigned, would contest that in Tajikistan there is evidence of such pattern of violations.
Therefore, we urge Poland to stop deportation of Khabibullo Teshaev and his family to Tajikistan, where they will face torture and imprisonment, and we call on immediate release of the activist and his family members and provision with international protection in accordance with the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.
1. Human Rights Vision Foundation, Holland
2. Association of Central Asian migrants, Lithuania
3. Dom Otwarty, Poland
4. Eurasian Dialogue institutions, Lithuania
5. Stowarzyszenie Refugees Szczecin, Poland
6. Tajik Centre for Human Rights, Austria