Tajikistan has begun to take revenge on relatives of opposition activists: the aftermath of the rally in Berlin

Several members of the Tajik opposition in Europe said that Tajik law enforcement agencies detained and interrogated their relatives. This happened after a protest rally in Berlin on 29 September 2023, under the walls of the Bellevue Palace, where a summit with the participation of Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon was held. His motorcade was pelted with eggs by activists, after which the head of the RT regarded this action as an international disgrace.

The very next day, 30 September, was followed by detentions and forcible detentions without any permits, under threats of arrest, physical violence, blackmail, insults, and rough treatment. To date, more than 40 detentions have already been reported. Among them: are an 81-year-old man and even a 1.5-year-old child, as well as women.

Not paying attention to the age and state of health of people, the Tajik authorities, violating human rights, are trying to use innocent people as “hostages” to intimidate them and try to close the mouths of dissidents. Such a method is reminiscent of the medieval period when kin was held collectively responsible. In Nazi Germany, a similar method was called “Sippenhaft” and was applied to family members of the unwanted. Thus, the punishment was often imprisonment or the death penalty for relatives of anti-Nazi conspirators.

It is worth noting that in recent years oppositionists living in Europe have also complained of pressure on their families in their home country. The authorities have not responded to these complaints, even though human rights organizations, citing fundamental human rights principles, have repeatedly urged the Government of Tajikistan not to use family members of oppositionists as “decoys”.

Meanwhile, the National Alliance of Tajikistan (NAT), an organization banned in Tajikistan and representing a coalition of groups in opposition to the Tajik authorities, in its statement of 1 October 2023 called the detention of opposition relatives “illegal” and an “international crime”. Moreover, NAT demanded that the Tajik authorities immediately release the relatives of the opposition representatives.

We, the people’s movement “DEMOCRATIC SELECTION OF TURKMENISTAN” also call on the entire progressive world community, human rights organizations, national governments, and diplomatic corps to take all urgent and necessary measures for the release of innocent Tajik citizens in captivity. We also call on the authorities of Turkmenistan to immediately release all political prisoners who have been illegally deprived of their right to a free, democratic life! We are confident that only joint efforts will help to bring a positive effect on the territory of the Central Asian countries.