Tajikistan. In January, a police officer was sentenced to 13 years in prison for torturing a prisoner and bribing him. The prisoner accused of belonging to a banned Islamist organization is said to have taken his life. Police violence has long been a problem in the country.
Two people were killed and many injured in violence at a disputed part of the border with Kyrgyzstan in March. Hundreds of people were evacuated.
Hundreds of Tajik nationals had joined the Islamic State (IS) terrorist movement in Iraq and Syria. Many were killed during the year, while others were imprisoned. Over 80 children were flown to Tajikistan from Iraq, where their Tajik mothers were arrested accused of belonging to IS. The children would be adapted to civilian life and handed over to relatives.
In May, 32 people were killed in riots in a prison just outside the capital, Dusjanbe. Militant prisoners killed guards and prisoners with knives, set fire to the hospital and took hostages, before 24 of them were shot dead by security forces. Some of the dead were reported to be political prisoners. IS said to be behind the uprising. Later, 14 prisoners died during a transport, and they were suspected of being poisoned with bread by a fellow prisoner.
In June, Tajikistan hosted a summit with Asian leaders. President Emomali Rachmon then signed an agreement with China’s leader Xi Jinping on cooperation on investment, agriculture, industry and the fight against terrorism.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG: Click to see the meanings of 3-letter acronym and abbreviation of TJK in general and in geography as Tajikistan in particular.
New violence erupted in July at the border with Kyrgyzstan, where at least one person was killed and several injured. The presidents of both countries met at the border and talked to residents on both sides in an attempt to calm the emotions. But later, soldiers and border police on both sides were killed in new gunfire. Many were injured. The former Soviet republics have since the dissolution of the Soviet Union tried to agree on the border demarcation.
In September, a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison accused of extremism. Jehovah’s Witnesses are forbidden in the land and are not allowed to spread their teachings.
Tajikistani lawyer Buzurgmehr Yorov was awarded a prestigious Human Rights Award instituted by Central Asian migrants in Europe. Yorov was sentenced to 28 years in prison for defending arrested members of the banned Islamic renewal party. His brother received the award on his behalf in Warsaw.
Then, the Tajikistan Supreme Court stamped an alliance of opposition movements, the PMT (Tajikistan National Alliance), in exile in EU countries as a terrorist organization. PMT had been formed in Warsaw.
The Committee on Defense for Journalists, CPJ, in New York expressed concern over censorship and threats against journalists in Tajikistan. According to CPJ, the families of critically reviewing journalists were also threatened.
Prior to the 25th anniversary of the country’s constitution in November, amnesty was issued to over 3,000 convicted prisoners, and 5,000 others received pardon. Among those released, there were those who were convicted of liking on the Internet what the regime considers extremism. The prison sentence for close to 10,000 prisoners would also be shortened. One of them was lawyer Buzurgmehr Yorov, whose sentence would be reduced by six years.
On Constitution Day, over 20 people were killed at the border with Uzbekistan as IS supporters attacked a border posting. The victims were border guards and attackers who ended up in a fire.
According to CountryAAH, the population of Tajikistan in 2019 was 9,320,907, ranking number 96 in the world. The population growth rate was 2.420% yearly, and the population density was 66.5977 people per km2.