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STATEMENT: Global Voices Demands Release of Tajik Scholar Alexander Sodiqov

Alex Sodiqov with his wife and baby. Photo used with permission.

Alex Sodiqov with his wife and baby. Photo used with permission.

The Global Voices community calls for the release of Alexander Sodiqov, a Tajik-born University of Toronto PhD student and Global Voices author currently detained in Tajikistan.

Alex was arrested on June 16 in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region of Tajikistan, where he was conducting research on conflict resolution as part of an ongoing collaborative project with the University of Exeter. Alex was interviewing Alim Sherzamonov, regional representative of the opposition Social Democratic Party of Tajikistan, when he was approached and abducted by officers in plainclothes who reportedly identified themselves as state security agents.

The Tajik State Committee for National Security later released a statement confirming the arrest and suggesting that Sodiqov had been involved in espionage on behalf of an unidentified foreign government. However, officials have not confirmed that he is in their custody.

Alexander’s detainment increasingly looks like an enforced disappearance, which is illegal under international law. In a statement, Human Rights Watch notes that an enforced disappearance occurs when state agents “refuse to acknowledge they are holding someone in detention or conceal the person’s fate or whereabouts, thereby placing them outside the protection of the law.”

Global Voices is a community of bloggers, activists, writers, and translators from 167 countries. The universal human right to free expression is fundamental to our mission: to tell underreported stories from around the world and defend the rights of everyone to speak freely and without fear. As a scholar, Alex is deeply committed to illuminating the stories of individuals from multiple sides of the political debate in his native country. We are outraged by this violation of his right to free expression and are deeply concerned for his safety. We demand that Tajik officials release Alex immediately and without condition.

 

Ways to Support:

Visit the official campaign site for the release of Alex Sodiqov (in English and Russian)

Add your/organization's name to the petition for Alex's release

Tweet and follow the #FreeAlexSodiqov hashtag

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