AAG Statement on Potential Human Rights Issue in Tajikistan

The AAG has adopted a statement regarding the arrest and detainment of Alexander Sodiqov in Tajikistan.

Sodiqov, a doctoral student in political science at the University of Toronto, was in Tajikistan working with UK-based political scientists and geographers on an Economic and Social Research Council (UK) funded project. Sodiqov was arrested on June 16 after conducting an interview for the research project.

In a statement to Tajikistan Ambassador Farhod Salim, the AAG writes:

As of the date of this statement, we do not know what has prompted his arrest, but it would appear that this arrest is due to his research activities. The arrest and detention of academic researchers is of great concern to all of our constituent members. Like Sodiqov, many of us conduct interview-based research in Central Asia and other parts of the world.

Sodiqov’s arrest and detention represents a worrisome development for anyone concerned with intellectual freedom. We thus call on the appropriate authorities to release him immediately.

Read the full statement here.

In a cover letter accompanying the AAG statement to Ambassador Salim, AAG Executive Director Douglas Richardson states that the AAG is “working with contacts at the US Department of State to urge them to make further inquiries about this situation, and with the American Association for the Advancement of Science and its Science and Human Rights Coalition, to seek further information and an immediate resolution of this matter.”

July 24, 2014, update: The Guardian reports Sodiqov was released from jail, but ordered to remain in the country.