TORONTO, July 17, 2014 /CNW/ - On 16 June 2014, security forces in Tajikistan detained Alexander Sodiqov, a doctoral student in Political Science at the University of Toronto, Canada. He continues to be detained, and the York University Graduate Students' Association (YUGSA) is deeply concerned about the health and safety of Alexander, who is both a member of the union, and a fellow student.
Alexander was in Tajikistan conducting research on the topic of "Rising Powers and Conflict Management in Central Asia" under a contract with the University of Exeter, United Kingdom. The project is funded by the UK's Economic and Social Research Council.
The detention of a student researcher threatens the very heart of academic endeavours: to produce and disseminate scholarly knowledge in the spirit of freedom, transparency, and the forward progress of society. It is vital that all scholars have the ability to conduct research on civil society in all areas of the world. In conducting interviews in Khorog, Tajikistan, it is our understanding that Alexander intended to further precisely these academic goals.
We understand that, as of 23 June 2014, no formal charges have been laid. YUGSA calls upon governmental authorities in Tajikistan to release Alexander Sodiqov. While he is detained, we hope and expect that the Tajikistan authorities will fully respect Alexander's rights and treat him in accordance with international standards of law and justice. We encourage further involvement of all parties, including the Government of Canada, to expeditiously resolve this troubling and pressing issue.
SOURCE: YORK UNIVERSITY GRADUATE STUDENTS' ASSOCIATION