Shabnam Khudoydodova released from detention
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is relieved to learn that Shabnam Khudoydodova has been freed from detention in Belarus. Ms. Khudoydodova was released in Brest on 22 February, 2016 after eight months in detention pursuant to an extradition request from Tajikistan.
- The Norwegian Helsinki Committee commends the decision taken by the authorities in Minsk. Ms. Khudoydodova has only exercised her constitutional right to freedom of expression, and she should never have been put in detention in the first place. I am glad to hear the news of her release, said secretary general of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee Bjørn Engesland.
Ms. Khudoydodova being a Tajik migrant worker in Russia, had expressed views in online fora critical of the current regime in Tajikistan. Upon learning that she was no longer safe in Russia, she fled the country. Ms. Khudoydodova travelled through Belarus to Poland, but was turned back by Polish border guards. She was then detained by Belarusian authorities and placed in detention in Brest. Tajik authorities requested her extradition on extremism charges under article 307 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Tajikistan.
Having exercised her constitutional right to freedom of expression, Shabnam Khudoydodova risked a lengthy prison sentence if returned to Tajikistan. In August 2015, Tajik opposition activist Maksud Ibragimov was sentenced to 17 years imprisonment on similar charges after having been forcefully returned from Russia. The authorities of Tajikistan have intensified their repression of political dissent lately, described in a recent NHC/HRW report. Click here to read the report.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee would like to thank everybody who have contributed to the release of Shabnam Khudoydodova, she is now in safety.