The Prosecutor-General’s Office of Tajikistan has confirmed that freelance journalist Daler Sharifov was detained on extremism charges.

He is suspected of inciting religious enmity, says a statement released by the Prosecutor-General’s Office on February 1.

The statement, in particular, notes that during 2013-2019, a 32-year-old journalist Dalerjon Sharifov, a resident of the village of Niyogon in the Burun jamoat, which is subordinate to Vahdat Township, published more than 200 articles and commentaries of extremist nature aimed at inciting religious enmity in social networks.

In June 2019, Daler Sharifov published 100 copies of an unidentified text allegedly affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood movement in an underground printing house, according to the statement. 

“In this connection, criminal proceedings were instituted against Sharifov under the provisions of Article 189 (1) – inciting racial, ethnic, regional or religious enmity,” the statement said.

The journalist could face up to five years in prison if found guilty of charges produced against him.  

Recall, the journalist was summoned for questioning to the State Committee for National Security (SCNS) office in Dushanbe’s Shohmansour district on January 28 and he has not been seen since.

On January 29, Daler Sharifov was moved from the SCNS office in Dushanbe’s Shohmansour district to the SCNS head office, Ms. Shoira Davlatova, the head the Dushanbe-based Independent Center for Human Rights Protection, told Asia-Plus in an interview.  

One of relatives of Daler Sharifov told Asia-Plus on January 29 that security officers had conducted a search of Sharifov’s home during which they confiscated several books in Tajik, Russian and Arabic languages.  “They said that they will check out the books and will release him after questioning,” the relative said.  

On January 30, a court in Dushanbe’s Imoili Somoni district ruled that the journalist should remain in pre-trial custody for at least two months.

Daler Sharifov had previously worked with Tajik national TV channel Safina as author and host of the program “Mushoirat” (Communicating).    In recent years, he has not worked anywhere officially. 

Meanwhile Eurasianet says that most recently, Daler Sharifov had worked for Ozodagon newspaper, which was forced to close shop in 2019.  Most of the staff at the newspaper, including its founder Zafar Sufi, have reportedly sought asylum in Europe.  After Ozodagon folded, Sharifov remained in Dushanbe and continued to work freelance, writing about government campaigns to pressure women into refraining from wearing hijabs and other rights violations, according to Eurasianet.