After his arrest, a court ruled on January 30 that the journalist will be placed in “pre-trial” detention for two months, awaiting his trial on suspicion of “inciting ethnic, racial, and religious discord”, according to reports. He could face five years in prison if found guilty.
The Prosecutor – Generals’ Office claims in a press release that Sharipov is responsible for spreading over 200 “articles and commentaries containing extremist content between 2013 and 2019”, as reported by the AFP on February 2. The statement added that the journalist had published copies of an unidentified text related with the Muslim Brotherhood, which was banned in Tajikistan in 2006.
Daler Sharipov reports about domestic politics and is a well-known critic of the Tajik authorities. He writes for independent outlets about the difficulties Muslims face in practising their religion in the country.
Tajikistan also recently refused to fully accredit journalists of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) in a clear attack on press freedom.
In the past six months, the IFJ has reported on several cases of journalists being arrested and detained based on extremism or terrorism charges. Journalists were detained in Kashmir, Turkey, Egypt and Pakistan, with the last case ending in a five-year prison sentence.
IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger, said: “We deplore the action of imprisoning independent journalists as a means to silence them. We urge the Tajik authorities to secure Sharipov’s release and to ensure that independent journalists can continue reporting freely.”