Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (23 August):
I am delighted to hear that the Tajik journalist Khayrullo Mirsaidov has been released. This is an encouraging signal for freedom of the press and freedom of opinion in Tajikistan, and for the country’s fight against corruption. However, other important reform steps are needed for the state to guarantee the political rights and civil liberties of the Tajik People.
According to reports, a court of appeal in Khujand, northern Tajikistan, on Wednesday (22 August) reduced the twelve-year sentence that had been imposed on former journalist Khayrullo Mirsaidov, ordering him instead to pay a fine and perform social work.
On 11 July, Mirsaidov had been sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment for allegedly embezzling state funds, forging documents and making false statements, as well as to a fine of 11,500 euros. According to human rights defenders, the case was politically motivated. They stated that Mirsaidov had merely publicised cases of corruption. Khayrullo Mirsaidov had been arrested on 5 December 2017 and remained in custody until yesterday.