Antécédents de l'affaire: Faiziniso Vokhidova
Le 19 avril 2013, une nouvelle audience du procès de la défenseuse des droits humains Mme Faiziniso Vokhidova a eu lieu devant le tribunal financier dans la ville de Dushanbe. La défenseuse est poursuivie pour calomnie à cause d'une interview qu'elle a donnée à propos d'un accident de voiture impliquant l'entreprise Tochiron, qui aurait des liens avec des membres de la famille du président.
Faiziniso Vokhidova est avocate en droits humains et travaille sur des affaires de torture, de liberté de la presse et de violations des droits humains perpétrées par l'État. Elle a publiquement critiqué les autorités et dénoncé la corruption au sein du système judiciaire. En 2011, elle a représenté Mme Urunboy Usmonov, une journaliste de la BBC au Tadjikistan accusée de complicité avec les activités de l'organisation islamiste interdite Hizb ut-Tahrir, et le président du Tadjikistan l'avait graciée suite à des pressions nationales et internationales.
On 19 April 2013 a new hearing in the trial of human rights defender Ms Faiziniso Vokhidova was held in the Economic Court in the city of Dushanbe. The human rights defender is facing a lawsuit for slander in relation to an interview she gave about a car accident involving the private company Tochiron, which is reportedly linked to members of the President's family. At the hearing, the parties reiterated their positions but no new evidence was presented. The next hearing is scheduled to take place on 24 April 2013.
Faiziniso Vokhidova is a human rights lawyer working on cases of torture, media freedom as well as human rights violations by state authorities. She has publicly criticised state officials and denounced corruption within the judicial system. In 2011, she represented Mr Urunboy Usmonov, a BBC journalist in Tajikistan who faced charges of complicity with the activities of banned Islamist organisation, Hizb ut-Tahrir, and who was eventually pardoned by the President of Tajikistan following national and international pressure.
On 17 January 2013, the online news website ImruzNews published an article about a car accident in early 2013 involving a Tochiron gasoline truck and another vehicle on the Dushanbe-Khujand highway. The driver of the other vehicle died in the collision. The article contained an interview with Faiziniso Vokhidova, in which the human rights lawyer reported that neighbours of the deceased driver told her that his body was taken away by the Tochiron driver and that representatives of the company later demanded 20,000 USD to give it back. This money was supposedly a form of compensation for the gasoline that leaked from the truck as a result of the accident. The company denied these allegations. The human rights defender recounted what she was told to journalist Furuzon Azamzod, who published it on ImruzNews' website.
At a hearing on 27 March 2013, both parties were asked if they could reach a settlement. However, the company refused to settle except if there was a guarantee that no media would repeat the accusations against them, guarantee that Faiziniso Vokhidova could not provide having no control over media in Tajikistan. At a hearing on 5 April 2013, the company demanded 50,000 Tajikistan somoni (approximately €8000) from Faiziniso Vokhidova and 1 somoni from ImruzNews as compensation for the alleged damage to its reputation, and that ImruzNews publish an apology.
The trial of the human rights defender has caused significant concern within Tajikistan's civil society. Local journalists refused to participate in official celebrations of the National Press Day on 11 March 2013 as the trial of the human rights defender was scheduled to open that day. Concern was also expressed given reported links between Tochiron and family members of the President of Tajikistan, which leads supporters of Faiziniso Vokhidova to believe that the lawsuit may be in fact motivated by the human rights lawyer's work in exposing and denouncing human rights violations.