June 23, 2014
Since 16 June 2014, Alexander Sodiqov, a doctoral student in Political Science at the University of Toronto, has been held in detention by security forces in Tajikistan. The University of Toronto remains deeply concerned about the health and safety of Alexander.
A Tajik national, 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 in the United Kingdom. The project is funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council.
The detention of an academic researcher cuts to the core of the mission of the university: to produce and disseminate scholarly knowledge in an atmosphere of open expression and intellectual freedom. It is vital that scholars have the ability to conduct research on civil society in all areas of the world. In conducting interviews in Khorog, it is our understanding that Alexander intended to further precisely these academic goals.
The University understands that, as of 23 June 2014, 9:00 EST, no formal charges have been laid. The University continues to work with various government agencies and non-governmental organizations to secure Alexander’s release, so that he and his family can return to Toronto and he can continue his doctoral studies without further delay.
The University calls upon governmental authorities in Tajikistan to work actively toward resolving this matter. It hopes and expects that the Tajikistan authorities will fully respect Alexander’s rights and treat him in conformity with international standards of justice and law. The University encourages further involvement of all parties to resolve this issue.
U of T Media Relations