Urgent Interventions

Tajikistan: forced disappearance of Mr. Shamsuddin Shamsuddinov

Open Letter to His Excellency E. Rahmonov,
President of the Tajikistan Republic

Geneva, June 6th, 2003

Concerning the forced disappearance of Mr. Shamsuddin Shamsuddinov

Your Excellency,

The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), the world’s largest network of NGO’s fighting against torture, has been informed by the Kyrgyz Committee for Human Rights, a member of the SOS-Torture network of the arbitrary arrest and detention of Mr. Shamsuddin Shamsuddinov, the deputy chair of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, in Chkalovsk, northern Tajikistan.

According to the information received, Mr. Shamsuddinov was arrested by unknown persons at his home on May 30th, 2003, and brought to an unknown location. He was last seen, according to the Islamic Renaissance Party’s press secretary Hikmatullo Saifullozoda, at the Chkalovsk airport. His face was covered, but he was reportedly able to shout out his name to individuals in the vicinity. Mr. Shamsuddinov’s arrest became public on Wednesday, June 4th, 2003. The country’s chief prosecutor, Sharif Kubanova informed the press that Mr. Shamsuddinov had been arrested with the prosecutor’s approval. Mr. Shamsuddinov has been accused of serious crimes and a criminal case has been opened. He is reportedly currently being detained at a detention centre in Dushanbe, and has been permitted neither family visits nor access to legal counsel, giving rise to serious concerns that he may be being subjected to ill-treatment and/or torture. The Islamic Renaissance Party has applied to the Government to determine the exact location of Mr. Shamsuddinov and to request an explanation for his arrest, but has not yet received a reply.

The International Secretariat of OMCT is gravely concerned by the arbitrary arrest and detention of Mr. Shamsuddinov and fears for his physical and psychological integrity, particularly as he is being detained incommunicado. Incommunicado detention is a human rights violation in itself, but is also often symptomatic of and accompanied by other violations, such ill-treatment and torture.

In light of this, OMCT urges your Excellency to immediately locate Mr. Shamsuddinov’s whereabouts and guarantee his personal integrity at all times as well as to allow him to receive access to family visits and legal counsel. OMCT also calls for him to be released immediate in the absence of valid legal charges in line with international law, or, if such charges exist, to ensure that he receives a prompt and fair trial and that his procedural rights are guaranteed at all times. Finally, OMCT calls on your Excellency to ensure that a prompt and impartial investigation is launched as a matter of urgency, in order to determine those responsible for any human rights violations that have been committed in relation with these events, bring the perpetrators to justice, and provide adequate reparation to Mr. Shamsuddinov.

Thank you for the careful consideration that you give to these matters.

Yours sincerely,

Eric Sottas
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