Tajikistani authorities remand BBC correspondent on recognizance.

14/7 Tass 296

DUSHANBE, July 14 (Itar-Tass) — Tajikistani authorities have remanded on recognizance not to leave the BBC correspondent Urunboi Usmonov pending a decision taken by the country’s Prosecutor General, Sherkhon Salimzoda.

The Prosecutor General said two days earlier that President Emomali Rakhmon had taken the investigation of Usmonov’s case under personal control.

“In line with the President’s request, we’re now drafting a reference document on the investigation,” Salimzoda said.

Tajikistan’s security services arrested Usmonov in June on charges of involvement in the banned terrorist organization Hizb-ut-Tahreer that seeks to build an Islamic caliphate on the territory of former Soviet Central Asian republics.

At a later date, the charges were reformulated into a “failure to report crime”.

The correspondent’s lawyers believe the accusation was based on a solitary case where Usmonov had an interview with activists of the Hizb-ut-Tahreer regional branch and on the tapping of ‘guideline party documents’ during a search in the correspondent’s house.

The authorities’ actions came under severe criticism on the part of the mass media community, major international organizations, the European Union member-states, and the U.S.

The critics would mostly describe Usmonov’s arrest as an outright encroachment on the freedom of his professional activity.

Ambassadors of EU countries said in a group letter to President Rakhmon they were concerned by the facts of persecution of journalists of late.

As the instances of this, the pointed out the multiple court lawsuits the government organizations filed against the publications Asia Plus, Farazh, Ozadogon, and others.

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