PUBLIC AI Index: EUR 60/01/99
EXTRA 90/99 Death penalty/Fear of execution 19 July 1999
TAJIKISTAN Asadullo Allayevich SHOMATOV
Asadullo Shomatov is believed to be facing imminent execution in Tajikistan.
According to a representative in Tajikistan of the NGO Human Rights Watch,
the Supreme Court of Tajikistan rejected an appeal against his death sentence
on 4 July after re-examining the case. The sentence can apparently be carried
out within a month of the appeal being turned down, unless the prisoner receives
a presidential pardon. Asadullo Shomatov was convicted of "organizing a criminal
group with the aim of transporting and selling narcotics" (Article 40 of the
Tajik Criminal Code) by the Supreme Court on 7 May 1999. He has been unwilling
to apply for a presidential pardon, on the grounds that this entails confessing
to a crime of which he claims to be innocent.
Asadullo Shomatov is a police colonel, and at the time of his arrest in September
1997 he was First Deputy in the Department of the Interior of Dushanbe, the
capital of Tajikistan. Although born in Uzbekistan, he is a citizen of
There are allegations that Asadullo Shomatov’s trial was unfair, on the grounds
that there was insufficient evidence to support the charge; key evidence which
would have exonerated Asadullo Shomatov was not considered; and witnesses and
the judge were intimidated to ensure that he was found guilty.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases and without
reservation, on the grounds that it is a violation of the right to life and
the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Amnesty
International is appealing to the President of Tajikistan to exercise his
constitutional authority to commute this death sentence.
In the first half of 1999 Amnesty International learned of six new death
sentences handed down in Tajikistan. The organization also received unofficial
reports that Abdulkhafiz Abdullayev, who was suffering from terminal cancer,
was executed at the end of 1998, reportedly after Tajik President Imamali
Rakhmonov turned down a clemency appeal (see Extra 12/98, EUR 60/01/98, 3
February 1998, and follow-up, EUR 60/02/98, 12 March 1998). Abdulkhafiz
Abdullayev was the younger brother of Abdumalik Abdullojonov, a former prime
minister and head of the Khujand-based opposition National Revival Bloc. The
Bloc is excluded from the peace process which began after the five-year civil
war formally ended in June 1997. Abdulkhafiz Abdullayev had been sentenced
to death in March 1998 for his alleged involvement in an attempt on the life
of President Rakhmonov.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in Russian or your own language:
- urging the president to use his constitutional authority and commute the
death sentence passed on Asadullo Shomatov as well as all other death sentences
that come before him;
- expressing concern at reports that Abdulkhafiz Abdullayev was executed at
the end of 1998;
- urging that a moratorium be imposed on death sentences and executions pending
a comprehensive review of the death penalty.
President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Imamali Sharipovich RAKHMONOV
Respublika Tajikistan, g. Dushanbe, Apparat Prezidenta Respubliki
Prezidentu RAKHMONOVU I.Sh.
Telegrams: Prezidentu Rakhmonovu, Dushanbe, Tajikistan