As part of its Human Rights Defenders’ Program, Human Rights Matter (HRM) has communicated the Case of R. G. against Tajikistan as the legal representative of an applicant to the United Nations Human Rights Committee, alleging that Tajikistan is in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The applicant is Mr. R. G*, a national of Tajikistan. The applicant is a human rights defender and author of a popular blog that exposes human rights abuses in Tajikistan. The applicant received a telephone call from one of his previous clients, who had informed him that representatives of the Military Commissariat had come to his pharmacy in an attempt to arrest him for evading military service, despite the fact that the client was legally exempted to retire from his military duty. An argument between the officers of the Military Commissariat and the applicant ensued, which ultimately ended up with the officers subjecting the applicant to an unlawful and arbitrary arrest. The applicant was thereafter taken against his will to the Military Commissariat where he was arbitrary deprived of his liberty, and only released when it was determined what was already known: his identity. The applicant attempted to bring charges against the officers for unlawful arrest and detention but his case was dismissed by the Military Court to which, he as a civilian was forced to approach. The applicant has been denied his right to freedom of expression merely because he had attempted to help a fellow person become aware of his legal rights in relation to the State.
Tajikistan holds a grisly history with respect to the protection of human rights, particularly in relation to the way it treats human rights defenders. There are numerous reports of human rights defenders being subject to harassment, intimidation, and arbitrary detentions by the legal machinery of the State. The Human Rights Committee has previously expressed that Tajikistan should refrain from its well precedent practice of trying civilians in military courts, as it often results in unfair trials against applicants. Human Rights Matter remains committed to using the tool of strategic litigation in order to promote transparency and accountability in the Central Asian States, as well as justice in individual cases.
* Full name has been withheld in order to protect the applicant’s privacy.