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Statement on situation in Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region

On Novem­ber 25, just 3 days after 17th EU-Cent­ral Asia Min­is­teri­al meet­ing in Dush­anbe, headed by High Representative/Vice Pres­id­ent Josep Bor­rell and Com­mis­sion­er for Inter­na­tion­al Part­ner­ships Jutta Urpil­ain­en, incom­pet­ent and crim­in­al actions of the Tajikistan law enforce­ment res­ul­ted in deaths of Gul­bid­din Ziy­obekov, Tutisho Amirsho­ev and Gul­naz­ar Murod­bekov, aged between 20–29 years and instig­ated days long protests of res­id­ents of Gorno-Badakhshan.

Act­ing on orders from the loc­al pro­sec­utor, armed law enforce­ment agents took Gul­bid­din Ziy­obekov from his home. After a short while his body with со следами 6 пулевых отверстий и один в голову a bul­let hole in his head was returned to his rel­at­ives. The pro­sec­utori­al order was based on a fab­ric­ated crim­in­al case against Gul­bid­din Ziy­obekov. Earli­er, Gul­bid­din and oth­er res­id­ents of the Roshtkala dis­trict stood up for their female rel­at­ive, who became a vic­tim of sexu­al har­ass­ment and assault by the newly appoin­ted assist­ant dis­trict pro­sec­utor. Video evid­ence of this was cir­cu­lated last year but did not lead to leg­al actions against the per­pet­rat­or. Instead, pro­sec­utor ini­ti­ated a crim­in­al case against Gul­bid­din this year in retali­ation for his attempt to pro­tect the female vic­tim of sexu­al har­ass­ment. As Gul­bid­din was being arres­ted, law enforce­ment also shot anoth­er civil­ian, who died later from injur­ies. People brought bod­ies to the square in Kho­rog request­ing justice. Dur­ing the protests in Kho­rog the secur­ity forces indis­crim­in­ately fired at the protest­ing crowd, injur­ing at least 15, one of whom died as well.


This is not the first-time author­it­ies have used excess­ive force against its cit­izens, com­mit­ting extraju­di­cial killings in Khorog.

On July 2012, dur­ing the alleged spe­cial law enforce­ment oper­a­tion 23 civil­ians were killed. Inde­pend­ent sources repor­ted great­er num­bers of cas­u­al­ties among the gen­er­al pop­u­la­tion. Inter­na­tion­al human rights watch­dogs have not been able to veri­fy the cas­u­alty reports. Des­pite mul­tiple inquir­ies from the UN Human Rights Coun­cil the author­it­ies have not con­duc­ted any invest­ig­a­tion them­selves and have not allowed any inde­pend­ent inter­na­tion­al invest­ig­a­tion into the incident.

In 2014 dur­ing mis­man­aged police oper­a­tion in GBAO’s cap­it­al, Kho­rog left 3 civil­ians dead.

In Novem­ber 2018 the police wounded two men in Kho­rog which led to wide­spread protests.

In May 2020 use of excess­ive force by law enforce­ment led to ser­i­ous injur­ies among civil­ian pop­u­la­tion in Rush­an district.

None of these incid­ents were adequately investigated.

In 2018 dur­ing his vis­it to Kho­rog Pres­id­ent Rakh­mon told his secur­ity chiefs: “There are 2,000 gov­ern­ment employ­ees in Kho­rog, and you can­not even deal with five or six crim­in­als? I will take respons­ib­il­ity for this myself – if you need, use live arms”. So its clear, that he bears full and dir­ect respons­ib­il­ity over blood­shed in GBAO. Its hap­pen­ing on his orders”, said Alim Sherza­monov, deputy lead­er of Nation­al Ali­ance of Tajikistan.

Protests in Gorno-Badakh­shan Autonom­ous Oblast (GBAO) also left cit­izens unable to access online con­tent or main­tain com­mu­nic­a­tion. Shortly after protests began in the admin­is­trat­ive cen­ter of GBAO, Kho­rog on 25th Novem­ber 2021, the inter­net and mobile con­nec­tion was cut off in the entire region.

We call on Tajik author­it­ies to imme­di­ately cease all viol­ent actions, de-mil­it­ar­ise Kho­rog and oth­er cit­ies, restore all forms of com­mu­nic­a­tion in GBAO without delay, invest­ig­ate and pun­ish those respons­ible for extraju­di­cial exe­cu­tion of Gul­bid­din Ziy­obekov and indis­crim­in­ate shoot­ing of pro­test­ers in the square that led to death of Tutisho Amirsho­ev, Gul­naz­ar Murod­bekov and left dozens injured, invest­ig­ate and pun­ish the assist­ant pro­sec­utor Abdus­a­lom Abirzoda, respons­ible for sexu­al har­ass­ment of the female GBAO res­id­ent and fab­ric­a­tion of the crim­in­al case against Gul­bid­din Ziy­obekov and his death in retali­ation for his effort to defend her.

Asso­ci­ation for Cent­ral Asi­an Migrants

NGO “Free­dom for Eurasia”

Buzurgmehr Yorov Foundation

Tajik Cen­ter for Human Rights 

The Civil Com­mit­tee for the Pro­tec­tion of Polit­ic­al Host­ages and Pris­on­ers in Tajikistan