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Tajikistan: Authorities continue harassment of a human rights activist

Anora Sarkorova, Freedom for Eurasia’s expert on Central Asia and journalist in exile is once again experiencing pressure from Tajik authorities due to her activism and published works. Previously, her family members endured unlawful interrogations and threats due to her investigations and publications on human rights violations by the Tajik authorities. 

On February 1, 2024, Anora Sarkorova’s elderly mother Ms.Rizakhotun Nikadamova was taken to a police department in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, where she was notified of a criminal case initiated against her daughter under Article 307(1) of the Criminal Code of Tajikistan, relating to public calls for extremist activities.

Furthermore, Investigator Dilovar Mamadlatif compelled Ms. Nikadamova provided personal data about her daughters’ children and took a photograph of her. After subjecting Mrs. Sarkorova’s mother to intimidation and emotional abuse, the investigator strongly “recommended” Ms. Nikadamova to convince Anora and her husband to return to Tajikistan, voluntarily surrender to authorities, and repent for the alleged offenses. 

Sarkorova worked as a correspondent for the BBC’s Russian service for nearly 20 years until 2018, when Tajik authorities withdrew her accreditation due to her critical reporting and enforced an unofficial ban on her working as a journalist. She left the country in 2021 and since then has published her reporting on her Facebook page and Telegram channel, where she has about thousands of followers and subscribers.

Tajik authorities for decades employed the tactic of targeting the family members and loved ones of activists, journalists, and human rights defenders who have fled the country, making it difficult even for those residing in safe countries to continue their activism. This harassment forces people to choose between the safety of their families in Tajikistan and their principles and duty to expose and investigate human rights abuses and enjoy their right to free speech. This tactic is used to shut down every voice that is standing to oppose Emomali Rahmon’s kleptocratic dictatorship.

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