ODIHR director expresses concern over sentencing of leading members of Tajik Islamic Party

09/06/2016 10:11
Asia-Plus
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DUSHANBE, June 9, 2016, Asia-Plus – Michael Georg Link, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), last week expressed concern over sentencing by a court in Dushanbe of two leaders of the banned Islamic Revival Party (IRPT) to life imprisonment, and 11 other high-ranking party officials to jail terms ranging from two to 28 years.

“The harsh sentences handed down on June 2, following the earlier ban of the IRPT and the arrest and harassment of its members and their families and lawyers, raise concerns in relation to the commitments Tajikistan has made as an OSCE participating State to uphold key values of democracy, including political pluralism and political participation,” the ODIHR Director said.  “ODIHR has raised this issue with the authorities in the past, and asked for more information on the rationale behind these actions.”

The IRPT party officials were convicted and sentenced by the court on charges that they had conspired in and taken part in the organization of an army coup in the country in September 2015. At that time, the Supreme Court banned the party as an “extremist and terrorist organization”.

The trials leading up to the sentences were reportedly held behind closed doors, with the proceedings off-limits to the media as well.

“Fair-trial rights are a central element of the rule of law, and measures limiting public scrutiny of and access to criminal proceedings can only undermine confidence that these rights are being upheld,” Director Link said. “ODIHR continues to stand ready to support the Tajik authorities in fulfilling the country’s OSCE commitments in the areas of political pluralism and the rule of law.”  

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