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NCRPH’s Statement on the arrest, extradition and conviction of Chorshanbiev

The National Committee for the Release of Political Hostages and Prisoners of Tajikistan (NCRPH) strongly condemns the detention of MMA fighter Chorshanbi Chorshanbiev in Moscow — Russia, his extradition to Tajikistan and accusing him of baseless accusations, considering this action to be contrary to human rights and freedoms principles, which are specified both in the laws of Russian Federation and in the current laws of Tajikistan, calls on the Tajik authorities to release him immediately and to apologize to him for this offense.

It should be noted that on Wednesday Chorshanbi Chorshanbiev was extradited to Tajikistan from Moscow by the law enforcement agencies of Russia and Tajikistan. On the morning of December 30, 2021, he was detained at the Dushanbe airport by armed men.

According to the Tajik service of Radio Liberty, the prosecutor’s office of the Shokhmansur district of the city of Dushanbe brought charges against Chorshanbiev under Articles 189 (incitement to ethnic and religious hatred) and 307 (public incitement to violent change and overthrow the constitutional order). Based on these two charges, he faces up to eight years in prison.

The NCRPH considers the charges against the Tajik athlete to be unfounded and trumped up, and therefore considers his arrest, extradition and the subsequent sentence politically motivated.

We believe that Chorshanbi Chorshanbiyev never committed any crimes under these two articles of the Criminal Code of Tajikistan. Yes, he criticized and exposed the policies of the current government in Tajikistan. But Chorshanbiev’s criticism never arouses “incitement to ethnic and religious hatred” or “public incitement to violent change the constitutional order”.

The NCRPH decisively condemns the detention of Tajik fighter and his extradition to Tajikistan and accusing him of baseless accusations, considers this action to be contrary to human rights and freedoms, which are specified both in the laws of Russian Federation and in the current laws of Tajikistan, calls on the Tajik authorities to release him immediately and to apologize to him for this offense.

The NCRPH also calls on high-ranking officials of the Russian Federation to demand from them a thorough assessment of the illegal actions of Russian law enforcement agencies and their cooperation with the security and law enforcement agencies of the Republic of Tajikistan in the arrest and extradition of Tajik critics and to see if these steps benefit the cooperation of the peoples of the two brother countries as strategic partners? This is the umpteenth time that Russian security and law enforcement agencies, in cooperation with their Tajik counterparts, have detained and extradited critics and opponents of the current Tajik government in Russia. The NCRPH does not consider the actions of Russia’s law enforcement agencies to be in Russia’s favor.

The UNHCR also calls on all human rights organizations in the country and outside of Tajikistan to make every effort to release this Tajik athlete and ensure that these illegal actions are not repeated.

The National Committee for the Release of Political Hostages and Prisoners of Tajikistan (NCRPH)

December 4, 2022

Warsaw, Poland

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