Tajik Authorities Say Detained Journalist Charged With Extremism

By RFE/RL's Tajik Service

DUSHANBE -- Tajik authorities say journalist Abdusattor Pirmuhammadzoda, who has been kept incommunicado since his arrest 10 days ago, has been charged with "public calls for extremist activities."

Shodi Hafizzoda, a senior official at the Interior Ministry, told reporters on July 19 that, if convicted, Pirmuhammadzoda faces up to five years in prison.

The Prosecutor-General's Office said earlier that Pirmuhammadzoda was detained on July 9 for disobeying police.

Last week, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called on Tajikistan to fully disclose information on the whereabouts of Pirmuhammadzoda and another journalist, Zavqibek Saidamini, who was also arrested earlier in July. Tajik authorities have not revealed any information on the charges he faces or where he is being held.

Both Saidamini and Pirmuhammadzoda worked with journalists Daler Imomali and Abdullo Ghurbati, who were detained in mid-June, and have published calls for their release.

Relatives of Saidamini and Pirmuhammadzoda have told RFE/RL that neither journalist appears to have been given access to a lawyer.

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