DUSHANBE, June 20, 2014, Asia-Plus – Many scholars of Central Asian affairs from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Tajikistan, Russia, Japan, the Netherlands, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan on June 18 singed a statement regarding Alexander Sodiqov, in which they express concern about the fate of Tajik researcher, who was detained by security officials in Khorog, the capital of the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO).

“We, the undersigned scholars of Central Asian affairs are deeply concerned about the fate of Alexander Sodiqov, a PhD student at the University of Toronto.

“Sodiqov was detained by security officials on 16 June 2014 in Khorog, Tajikistan.  He was visiting under a research contract with the University of Exeter (UK) to help with a scholarly project, when he was approached in the middle of an interview with a local civil society representative and taken into custody.  He has apparently not had contact with lawyers, his colleagues, or his family.

“Married and with a young daughter, Sodiqov is a member of a new generation of scholars.  These are people committed to highest-quality scholarship and to good and productive relations between Tajikistan and the rest of the world.

“As scholars of Central Asian affairs, we are deeply concerned about the safety of Mr. Sodiqov and his family and strongly encourage the authorities in Tajikistan to ensure the full protection of Mr. Sodiqov''s and his family’s rights.”

236 Signatories (as of 12:31 EST, June 19, 2014)