Stockholm, December 28, 2022 – In response to news reports that Tajikistan authorities recently sentenced journalist Abdusattor Pirmuhammadzoda to seven years in prison, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement on Wednesday condemning the ruling:
“The trial of Abdusattor Pirmuhammadzoda, like the trials of five other journalists recently sentenced to lengthy prison terms on anti-state charges in Tajikistan, has been marked by secrecy, allegations of mistreatment, and the total absence of evidence that his prosecution is based on anything other than his criticism of local authorities,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, in New York. “Tajik authorities should release Pirmuhammadzoda and all other unjustly imprisoned journalists immediately, and cease their campaign of intimidation against the independent press.”
During a closed-door trial on Monday, December 26, at a detention center in the capital city of Dushanbe, a judge found Pirmuhammadzoda guilty of participation in an opposition political organization banned as extremist and sentenced him to seven years, according to those reports.
Pirmuhammadzoda denied the charges, his brother, Abdukarim Pirmuhammadzoda, told CPJ in a phone interview; he said he did not know whether the journalist intended to appeal the verdict.
Police arrested Pirmuhammadzoda and Zavqibek Saidamini, both former state media journalists who had quit their jobs over alleged censorship, in July. In a letter passed to the media in October, Pirmuhammadzoda said that officers had coerced him into recording a false confession by electrocuting him, beating him, and threatening his family.
Pirmuhammadzoda and Saidamini are among six journalists sentenced to between seven and 21 years in prison on anti-state charges in Tajikistan since October, as CPJ has documented.