Majlis Podcast: Dushanbe’s Response To Critics? Throw Them In Prison

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This week's Majlis podcast was dedicated to the increasingly horrific human rights situation in Tajikistan.

We've discussed this before, but things appear to have gotten even worse in recent weeks.

On July 11, independent journalist Hairullo Mirsaidov was sentenced to 12 years in prison on dubious charges that emerged after he wrote about local corruption in November 2017.

The Dushanbe government also dismissed a call from the UN Human Rights Committee to release Zaid Saidov, a jailed businessman and former government official who was suddenly charged with a range of crimes in 2013, right after announcing he was forming an alternative political party.

On top of this, Tajik officials have even denied permission for four-year-old Ibrohim Hamza Tillozoda to leave the country for cancer treatment, probably because Tillozoda is the grandson of Muhiddin Kabiri, the leader of the now banned Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, who fled the country in 2015.

RFE/RL's media-relations manager, Muhammad Tahir, moderated a discussion on the rapidly deteriorating situation surrounding human rights in Tajikistan.

We were joined from Denmark by Michael Anderson, who has been reporting and making documentary films about Central Asia for 15 years. Participating from Washington was Kate Barth, a human rights attorney and legal director at Freedom Now -- a group that has been advocating for the release of Tajikistan's political prisoners.

I think the campaign during the last five years against Tajikistan's opposition -- and for that matter anyone who voices criticism of the Tajik government -- is one of the most under-reported stories in Central Asia. So I had some things to say as well.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.