An activist of the Group 24 put on Interpol wanted list by Tajikistan is under threat of extradition
On 15 June 2015, while crossing the Russian-Belarusian border, a citizen of Tajikistan Shabnam Hudoydodova was arrested.
Shabnam Khayrulloevna KHUDOYDODOVA was born on 20 December 1986 in the city of Kulyab of the Tajikistan SSR. She has an underage daughter.
In social networks, she actively supported the critical opinions of the political opposition of Tajikistan, she emphasised the need for democratic reforms in her home country. Whenever she could, Ms Hudoydodova participated in humanitarian rallies in support of Tajik migrant workers.
Since the day of her arrest, Ms Hudoydodova is held in the pre-trial investigations prison of Brest. She was detained at the request of Tajikistan, because she is charged under Article 37 of the Criminal Code of Tajikistan (Criminal Liability of Accomplices).
Shabnam Hudoydodova has become a wanted person since expulsion of the leader and founder of the organisation "Youth of Tajikistan for the revival of Tajikistan", a member of the leadership of the opposition coalition "New Tajikistan", which includes the "Group 24" Maksud Ibrahimov from Russia. On 20 January, he disappeared in Moscow and soon it transpired that he was in Tajikistan. There is still little known about his location. In January 2015, Shabnam Hudoydodova’s house was searched, her mother and all those with whom she maintained contact in Tajikistan were questioned.
In recent years, Shabnam Hudoydodova lived in Russia. She recently learned that her abduction in Russia was being prepared. These fears are justified: in the last year supporters of the "Group 24" were repeatedly abducted, Umarali Kuvatov, the leader of the organisation was shot dead in Istanbul on behest of the Tajik security services.
In October 2014 Tajikistan declared the "Group 24" an "extremist" organisation. In many ways, this is a politically motivated persecution of opponents of the regime for their views.
On 12 June 2015, Ms Hudoydodova left for Belarus, to apply at the representative office of the UNHCR for a refugee status.
Association for Human Rights in Central Asia (AHRCA) expresses its concern about the threat of a forced return of Shabnam Hudoydodova to Tajikistan. For open expression of her views in social networks, she is at risk of torture and imprisonment for up to 20 years in Tajikistan. We call on:
— The representative Office of UNHCR in Belarus to visit Shabnam Hudoydodova urgently and consider her application in accordance with the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees.
— The Government of Belarus to comply with provisions of Article 3 of the UN Convention against Torture prohibiting the expulsion of a refugee to a country where she is at risk of torture.
The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia has informed the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, and international human rights organisations.
Our previous publications on this topic:
— press release "Turkey: Leader of the Tajik opposition Umarali Kuvatov murdered in Istanbul" dated 5 March 2015;
— press release "Arrests of the Tajik activists. In Moscow, Maksud Ibragimov is missing" dated 26 January 2015;
— press release "Turkey: the leader of «Group 24» Umarali Kuvatov faces a threat of extradition" dated 13 January 2015;
— press release "Turkey: the leader of «Goup 24» Umarali Kuvatov is detained" dated 20 December 2014;
— press release "Russia: an attempt on the life of a member of the Tajik opposition Maksud Ibragimov" dated 1 December 2014.