Media Releases

Statement about the detention of Alexander Sodiqov

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.


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