Tajik Journalist Ghurbati Goes On Trial On Charges He Calls ‘Unfounded’

7 days ago Web Desk 0

DUSHANBE — Well-known Tajik journalist Abdullo Ghurbati has gone on trial in Dushanbe on charges he and his supporters say are unfounded.

The Shohmansur district court started the trial behind closed doors on September 21.

Ghurbati is charged with publicly insulting an authority, minor assault of an authority, and participation in an extremist group’s activities. On the first two charges, the journalist may face fines, while if convicted on the third charge he may face up to eight years in prison.

Ghurbati and blogger Daleri Imomali, known for his articles critical of the government, were detained on June 15 and sent to pretrial detention for two months three days later.

Imomali was charged with illegal entrepreneurship and premeditated false denunciation. Dushanbe-based Independent Center for Human Rights, which provided Imomali with a lawyer, said on September 20 that the blogger’s trial will start soon.

In June, Human Rights Watch demanded Tajik officials immediately release Ghurbati and Imomali, saying the two men “are being targeted for their professional activities, despite being protected by Tajikistan’s laws and international obligations on freedom of expression and media freedom.”

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon has been criticized by international human rights groups for years over his disregard for independent media, religious freedoms, civil society, and political pluralism in the tightly controlled former Soviet republic.

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