April 2023 | Judge put on trial for too many acquittals
A former judge from Sughd Province went on trial in Dushanbe on 3 April on a variety of charges tied to his perceived leniency and judicial independence and faces nine years. Rustam Saidahmadzoda has been detained since June 2022, and no further information has come to light from his closed-doors trial. Saidahmadzoda’s decisions to acquit the accused on lack of evidence were noteworthy in Tajikistan, where only a handful of cases out of thousands annually result in acquittals – two in 2020, 11 in 2021, and none in 2022. Corruption is systemic in the Tajik judicial system and anti-corruption prosecutions fairly common, although the opacity of proceedings leaves unclear which judges are being targeted for corruption and which for resisting pressure from the executive.
December 2022 | Activists sentenced in secret trials
Respected journalist Ulfathonim Mamadshoeva was sentenced to 21 years in prison on 12 December on charges of attempting to overthrow the government. Mamadshoeva was one of six sentenced to similarly lengthy prison terms in the latest round of closed-door judgements stemming from the May-June unrest in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO). The sentences and the ongoing broader crackdown on GBAO residents have been condemned by international and local human rights organizations and a United Nations special rapporteur.
September 2022 | Clashes on Kyrgyz-Tajik border kill over 100
Two days of clashes along the Kyrgyz-Tajik border resulted in over 100 dead, at least 59 of whom were civilians, hundreds of thousands of Kyrgyz internally displaced people, and attacks on civilian infrastructure on both sides. Although the violence was instigated by well-armed modern militaries, roving armed mobs were recorded attacking both Tajik and Kyrgyz villages. Specific details about what instigated the fighting and the number of dead and injured are difficult to come by, in part due to Tajikistan’s tightly controlled information environment.
August 2022 | Crackdown in the Pamirs
The scale of the May crackdown in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region was brought into focus as Human Rights Watch reported the number of activists and citizens arrested in connection has risen to over 200. Outside access to the remote region has been strictly controlled, and those arrested are being tried in closed courts without access to lawyers. Some of the accused are Russian citizens and residents with no apparent connection to the May events who appear to have been extra-judicially extradited to stand trial.