Tajik Police Arrest Two Bloggers Known For Reports Criticizing Authorities


DUSHANBE -- Two popular Tajik bloggers known for their reports criticizing authorities have been arrested and placed in a detention center in Dushanbe on charges they deny.

Lawyer Abdurahmon Sharipov said on June 16 that Abdullo Ghurbati and Daleri Imomali were detained late the previous evening after being summoned by police for questioning.

According to Sharipov, Ghurbati was charged with attacking a police officer while Imomali was charged with illegal entrepreneurship and premeditated false denunciation.

Sharipov added that Ghurbati was charged after he was allowed to leave the police building following questioning in an unspecified case and was on his way out of the building when he was approached by a police officer, who rearrested him claiming the blogger punched him. Ghurbati vehemently denies that he attacked the police officer.

Imomali, meanwhile, said he did not know he had to pay taxes for his blogging activities, adding that a video from which the charge of premeditated false denunciation against him stemmed had been deleted from YouTube long ago.

The arrests come after an outcry by human rights advocates and media groups over an attack on journalists from RFE/RL's Tajik Service and Current Time last month. Tajik authorities have launched a probe into the incident.

President Emomali Rahmon has been criticized by international human rights groups for years over his disregard for independent media, religious freedoms, civil society, and political pluralism in the tightly controlled former Soviet republic.