LEGAL DEVELOPMENTS | Daniil Islamov Released After Serving Unjust Imprisonment in Tajikistan

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LEGAL DEVELOPMENTS | Daniil Islamov Released After Serving Unjust Imprisonment in Tajikistan

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On April 13, 2018, Daniil Islamov, a conscientious objector and one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, was released from Yavan Prison after unjustly serving a six-month prison sentence under the charge of evading military service. Mr. Islamov was imprisoned for nearly a year, since he had been in pretrial detention for six months before sentencing.

In April 2017, he received a military call-up and reported to the enlistment office. He informed the officers that he could not perform military service in good conscience. The commissariat arrested Mr. Islamov and detained him in military barracks until his trial. While in detention, he was repeatedly pressured to take the military oath and to put on a military uniform, which he refused to do.

According to Tajikistan law, a person may substitute alternative service for military service, but the government has not enacted legislation to provide for this. Since Mr. Islamov had been unlawfully detained for refusing military service, he submitted a complaint to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD). On October 5, 2017, the WGAD released its opinion and confirmed that conscientious objection to military service is an internationally protected right. The opinion concluded that Tajikistan is guilty of arbitrarily detaining Mr. Islamov and should release him immediately.

However, Tajikistan disregarded the WGAD decision. On October 13, 2017, Tajikistan’s military court sentenced Mr. Islamov to six months in prison. The Military Collegium of the Supreme Court rejected Mr. Islamov’s appeal, and he served his full sentence.

Philip Brumley, General Counsel for Jehovah’s Witnesses, stated: “We hope that the Tajikistan government will reconsider its treatment of conscientious objectors like Mr. Islamov. Since the WGAD and other international tribunals have repeatedly ruled that conscientious objection to military service is an internationally protected right, we anticipate that Tajikistan will adhere to its commitment to respect the fundamental rights of conscientious objectors.”