In Tajikistan, the freedom of peaceful assembly is regulated by the federal law № 1169 “On Assemblies, Meetings, Demonstrations, and Street Marches” of December 31, 2014. The law requires prior authorization regarding the holding of peaceful assemblies.
Procedure for organizing meetings
- organizers must be citizens of Tajikistan who have reached the age of 18
- organizers cannot be individuals with previous convictions, legally incompetent individuals, and persons with citizenship
- a notification about the organization of a mass action shall be submitted no later than 15 days before the event
- local authorities can authorize or forbid a meeting. Their decision has to be announced no later than 5 days prior to the event
- organizers have to cover expenses for the security provided by the police, medical services and cleaning of the location no later than 10 days after the assembly
What is allowed by the laws?
We’ve analyzed existing legislation concerning peaceful assembly rights in Tajikistan. According to these acts, all the actions we have considered are not allowed.
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Restrictions on the right to freedom of assembly
It is prohibited:
- to hold spontaneous assemblies
- to organize assemblies near Presidential residency and courthouses
- to hold assemblies between 6 PM and 8 AM
- to cover faces with masks
- to agitate for participation in an assembly prior to its authorization
- to hold simultaneous assemblies
- participants of an authorized action can be fined up to $36
- violation of the regulations on assemblies shall entail the imposition of a fine of up to $52 for organizers
- in case an individual attend another demonstration within 1 year after violating the rules on assemblies, they can be fined up to $113 even if they do not violate the law the second time
- repeated violation of the procedural regulations on demonstrations shall entail criminal liability: a fine up to $2042 or imprisonment for 2 to 5 years
- obstruction of public action through abuse of official position shall entail the imposition of a fine of up to $155 or imprisonment for up to 3 years
Commentaries of experts and participants of public events
Researchers and protesters from Tajikistan note that the government systematically restricts the freedom of peaceful assembly. According to the respondents, the state holds numerous mass assemblies aimed to support the current policy of the authorities. Administration of post-secondary institutions applies pressure on students, forcing more young people to participate in these actions. Pro-government rallies are held orderly and without any interference from law enforcement officials, whereas the authorities typically try to restrict other assemblies. There are several known cases of activists deciding not to participate in an assembly out of concern for state persecution. Our respondents emphasize that Tajikistan has ratified all international normative documents which guarantee the civil right of peaceful assemblies. However, in practice, these legal rules are being breached.