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Celebrating Tajik blogger Alexander Sodiqov's return to Canada

Civic Solidarity

By Alexandra Zakreski

CJFE celebrates the news that Tajik blogger and scholar Alexander Sodiqov has returned to Canada. Sodiqov, a PhD student in political science at the University of Toronto, was arrested in Tajikistan on June 16 in Khorog while conducting field research on "the causes of conflict and conflict management." A Tajik citizen who has been living in Toronto with his wife and young daughter for the past three years, Sodiqov was holding an interview with politician and activist Alim Sherzamonov on violence in Badakhstan---a region which borders Afghanistan and has been the site of violent conflict with the federal government---at the time of his arrest. Sodiqov was subsequently accused of espionage and treason, although the Tajik government was reluctant to elaborate on the evidence of these charges.

Sodiqov was released from prison on July 22, after 36 days in detention, but was forbidden to leave the country and kept under house arrest. While the Tajik government's investigation into Sodiqov continues, his PhD supervisor Dr. Edward Schatz commented that "the fact that the Tajik authorities saw fit to let him travel abroad strongly suggests that they are also convinced of the need to exonerate him."

Tajikistan is ranked 150th out of 180 countries on Reporters Without Borders' 2014 World Press Freedom Index. CJFE urges the Tajik authorities to drop all charges against Alexander Sodiqov and to respect diversity of opinion and freedom of expression in the country.

Alexandra Zakreski is CJFE's International Programs Coordinator

This article was originally published on cjfe.org on 12 September 2014.

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