EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: EUR 60/02/95
UA 116/95 "Disappearance" 25 May 1995
TADZHIKISTAN Mirzo SALIMOV, journalist
(_____ _______ in cyrillic)
Mirzo Salimov, an opposition journalist, has "disappeared" in Tadzhikistan.
He was arrested on 1 May 1995 at a market in the town of Gissar by people
in uniforms who forced him at gunpoint into a car. Eyewitnesses reported that
Mirzo Salimov's abductors shouted at him: "You are an enemy of the people!
We have been looking for you for a long time!"
On applying to the local police for information about his whereabouts, Mirzo
Salimov's family was referred to the Ministry of Security, which referred the
family back to the police. On 9 May the family was informed by an official
of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which is responsible for the police, that
there was no information about Mirzo Salimov's case. Since then unofficial
sources have continued to allege that Mirzo Salimov is in the custody of
officials of the Ministry of Security in the capital, Dushanbe.
From early 1993 Mirzo Salimov lived in exile in Russia, and was a correspondent
for the Moscow-based opposition newspaper Charogi Ruz (Light of the Day).
He returned to Tadzhikistan around six months before he "disappeared".
Civil war in Tadzhikistan in 1992 left at least 20,000 people dead, and appalling
human rights abuses are alleged to have been committed by all sides, including
numerous enforced "disappearances" which remain unresolved. Opposing forces
in the civil war were organized along regional and clan as well as political
lines. After the government led by Imamali Rakhmonov took power in late 1992
the opposition fled into exile, and its armed forces thereafter waged an
insurgency from bases in Afghanistan. Since 1994 negotiations have been under
way to try to find a lasting political settlement to the conflict.
Since 1992 some 27 journalists have been murdered or have "disappeared" in
Tadzhikistan. Some of the killings appear to have been the work of
pro-government forces and others the work of the armed opposition.
The media in Tadzhikistan is fully under government control. In August 1994
two Tadzhik journalists were briefly detained in Dushanbe for possessing the
newspaper Charogi Ruz. They were prisoners of conscience.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/express/airmail letters either in
Russian, English or in your own language:
- calling on the authorities to clarify the whereabouts of Mirzo Salimov, and,
if he is in detention, to release him immediately if he is not to be charged
with a recognizably criminal offence;
- calling on the authorities to guarantee the physical safety and well-being
of Mirzo Salimov, noting that the victims of "disappearance" are especially
vulnerable to torture or extrajudicial execution.
1. The President of Tadzhikistan, Imamali Rakhmonov