Tajik Doctoral Student Permitted to Leave Tajikistan
September 12, 2014
Earlier this week the Tajik authorities lifted travel restrictions on Alexander Sodiqov, a Tajik doctoral student in political science at the University of Toronto. He arrived in Toronto on Wednesday, September 10 to resume his studies and was joined the following day by his wife and daughter.
Mr. Sodiqov was arrested on June 16, 2014, in the restive autonomous region of Gorno-Badakshan (GBAO) in Tajikistan, where he was undertaking academic research on conflict resolution for the U.K.’s University of Exeter. A month earlier several people were killed and some half dozen people were injured during a police operation against suspected criminals, which led to clashes between the security forces and local residents who were protesting against the use of excessive force by police.
Mr. Sodiqov was detained while interviewing one of the protest leaders. When the authorities accused him of “subversion and espionage,” stating that his email account contained evidence that he was working for a foreign intelligence agency, the CHR investigated the case, spoke with knowledgeable and trustworthy sources, issued an Action Alert, and wrote several formal inquiries to Tajik government authorities in English and Russian. A month later he was released on bail while the investigation continued. Mr. Sodiqov’s doctoral adviser, Associate Professor of Political Science Edward Schatz, told the CHR today that the investigation has not been officially closed but will expire in one year. Given that Mr. Sodiqov was allowed to leave Tajikistan despite the serious nature of the initial accusations made against him, it is expected that the case will be officially closed in the near future or simply left to expire after one year.