The trial of a Pamiri blended martial arts fighter in Tajikistan took an surprising flip final week after a linguistic professional concluded that the assertion that landed the person, Chorshanbe Chorshanbiev, in jail didn’t really include a name to violence. According to RFE/RL’s Tajik Service, the courtroom ordered a brand new linguistic examination of the offending social media put up.
Chorshanbe Chorshanbiev, a 26-year-old MMA fighter from Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region, was deported from Russia in late December 2021. Officially, he was detained and deported over a dashing incident, however this could not be the primary Tajik citizen deported from Russia on the request of Tajik authorities. Europe-based Tajik journalist Anora Sarkorova wrote on Facebook that the deportation was actually an extradition.
Upon arrival in Tajikistan Chorshanbiev was detained, with the authorities alleging that statements he’d posted to social media amounted to violations of articles 189 and 307 of the Tajik Criminal Code, which cowl actions “arousing national, racial, local or religious hostility,” and “public calls for the forcible capture of state power.” If convicted, Chorshanbiev may resist 15 years in jail.
As Kamila Ibragimova chronicled in January for Eurasianet, Chorshanbiev’s troubles are rooted in a collection of feedback revamped the previous two years that some in Tajikistan have seen as offensive. To others, his statements are simply trash speak and free speech.
In January 2020, within the context of buying and selling barbs with a Russian opponent who confer with Chorshanbiev as a “Tajik fighter,” Chorshanbiev hit again, saying, “What do you mean Tajik? I’m not Tajik. You want to see a Tajik, look in the mirror… I am a Pamiri, written in big letters. Remember that forever.”
Six months later, Chorshanbiev apologized, saying that his intention was to inform the world that the Pamirs and the Pamiri individuals existed. But as for Tajikistan, he mentioned, “What division can there be between us when we live on one land?”
Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO) is populated by the Pamiri individuals, an ethnic and non secular Ismaili Shia minority in Sunni-majority Tajikistan. The area was hooked up to the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic within the late Twenties and stays part of trendy Tajik state. During the brand new nation’s civil struggle, from 1992-1997, the area was a middle of opposition, with many ethnic Pamiris siding with the democrats and Islamists towards the central authorities. That pressure stays almost 30 years later, effervescent up most not too long ago in November 2021 when the Tajik authorities responded to protests in Khorog by shutting off the area’s web.
The protests had been a response to the killing of an area man, Gulbiddin Ziyobekov, by the safety companies. As Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska defined in additional element for The Diplomat in February 2022:
The sufferer, Gulbiddin Ziyobekov, was not a stranger to battle with the authorities. In February 2020, he assaulted a deputy governor who allegedly sexually harassed a younger lady after she had approached him searching for assist. While a prison investigation into the incident was opened, it was quickly dropped following intervention of the then GBAO governor, Yodgor Faizov.
… In 2012, 2014, and 2018, Pamiris rose up towards the federal government and people who died within the clashes are remembered domestically as struggle heroes.
Last November, time got here for an additional chapter within the battle. Faizov, the governor, misplaced his put up and the investigation towards Ziyobekov was resumed. Soon after, Ziyobekov’s physique was discovered with a number of gunshot wounds. According to the authorities, the safety companies shot him in self-defense. But no one in Khorog believed this model of occasions. When the information in regards to the killing reached the native inhabitants, 1000’s took to the streets in central Khorog to demand justice.
It was amid this flare-up in tensions that Chorshanbiev took to social media once more and decried the scenario as unfair. He mentioned individuals ought to react to injustice: “I urge you to stand up against injustice and against the unjust death of innocent people.”
That appears to be the remark that landed him in hassle with Dushanbe — which frequently interprets any requires change on the authorities degree as advocating the overthrow of the state. The case took an odd flip final week when the courtroom ordered a brand new linguistic examination of his statements after a Russian professional, Yelizaveta Koltunova of the Institute of Linguistics and Journalism in Nizhny Novgorod, testified that his assertion didn’t include any “psychosocial or linguistic elements of calls for violence, including disruption of the foundations of the society and state.”