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Exiled Tajik blogger’s mother reportedly admits to collaborating with banned opposition group

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Investigation into criminal proceedings instituted against the Shohida Mamadjonova, the mother of exiled blogger and outspoken government critic Sherzod Mamadjonov, has been completed and the case has moved to a court, Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service reported on April 4.  She is accused of collaborating with the opposition movement Group 24, which is banned in Tajikistan.

Shohida Mamadjonova’s relatives and leaders of Group 24 staying abroad reportedly disagree with the charges brought against her.

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A source told RFE/RL’s Tajik Service that her case has moved to a court in Dushanbe’s Ismoili Somoni district.  According to him, the hearing in the case is scheduled for April 7.

Her son Sherzod Mamadjonov had earlier told RFE/RL that persons close to the government had informed him of the conditions for his mother’s release from custody.  “They say that mom will be released on the condition that I return to Tajikistan and publicly repent of my actions.  The government officials wrote about this on their fake pages on Facebook and YouTube,” Sherzod said.  

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The authorities of Tajikistan do not comment on Shohida Mamadjonova’s case.  However, reliable sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, reportedly said that she had pleaded guilty to collaborating with Group 24, which is banned in Tajikistan.   Evidence of cooperation with Group 24 was allegedly found in her mobile phone.

It is unknown how exactly the confessions were obtained.  If convicted, Shohida Mamadjonov could faces up to eight years in prison. 

Recall, Tajik authorities arrested the  45-year-old Shohida Mamadjonova on February 3 on an extremism charge. 

Mamadjonova had been missing for five days after she was summoned to a police station in Vahdat Township, near Dushanbe.

The Tajik Interior Ministry said late on February 8 that Shohida Mamadjonova was arrested on suspicion of organizing extremist activities.  The ministry did not give any further details.

Sherzod Mamadjonov at the time called his mother’s arrest a politically motivated attack on his family.  He said that his mother had earlier been summoned by the police several times, where they ordered her to persuade her son to return to Tajikistan.

Sherzod, who resides in Germany, is known in Tajikistan for his blog criticizing the government for its restrictive policies toward practicing Muslims in the tightly controlled country.

Tajikistan’s Supreme Court banned Group 24 on October 9, 2014 following growing government pressure on the opposition group after it used the Internet to call for street protests in Dushanbe on October 10, 2014.

Supreme Court judge Salomat Hakimova ruled that Group 24 is an extremist organization, and therefore, it is banned in Tajikistan.  Its website and printed materials were also banned.

In February 2019, former members of the opposition movement Group 24, who returned to Tajikistan, asked the Tajik authorities to remove the organization from the extremist organizations list.  They said the organization does not pose threat to Tajikistan’s security anymore.

Read more: asiaplustj.info

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