Dariush Rajabian 0

Appeal to the Presidents of the Republic of Tajikistan and the Russian Federation

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To: The President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon The President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev Parliaments of Tajikistan and Russia Your Excellencies and members of parliaments, We, representatives of Tajik and Russian societies, Tajik, Russian and other citizens based in different countries, appeal to you to express our common grave concern over the increasing number of Tajik nationals being atrociously murdered in Russia. On 16 November 2011 a charred headless body of the Tajik citizen Bakhtiyar Rasulov was found near St. Petersburg. The Russian investigation has already suggested that they might have been dealing with a domestic violence crime. However, it should be noted that the offender or a group of criminals first stabbed Bakhtiyar multiple times, then decapitated him, put his head in the trunk of Bakhtiyar’s private cab, and finally set the car on fire. Bakhtiyar Rasulov used to earn for his living on that car as a taxi driver in St. Petersburg. The vehicle with Bakhtiyar’s severed head and his headless charred body was found in a wooded area near St. Petersburg. We have no doubt in professional skills of the investigators engaged with the case. But at the same time, we hope that all possible motives that may lay behind the crime will be thoroughly investigated. It is not excluded that even the occurrence of such a grave barbaric crime during the Russian-Tajik political crisis over the detained pilots has been just another coincidence; as coincidental as the acceleration of deportation of Tajiks from Russia, the announcement about Tajiks being most criminogenic among migrants by Russia’s head of the Federal Migration Service Konstantin Romodanovsky, and the head of Russia’s Consumer Supervision Department Gennady Onishchenko’s statement about the Tajik diaspora being most-affected with AIDS, tuberculosis etc. Bakhtiyar Rasulov was killed on November 16 in the midst of a campaign dubbed as "Anti-Tajik Hysteria" even by the Russian media. Representatives of the Tajik society had turned to you even earlier, Mr Medvedev, in connection with the murder of yet another Tajik who had also been beheaded. Aircrafts deliver coffins of labour migrants from Russia to Tajikistan on a daily basis. We realise that our Tajik compatriots in Russia find themselves in a zone of increased risk. But we do not want to believe that they are becoming victims of targeted violence by xenophobic groups in Russia. As noted by Russian and Tajik human rights advocates, the recent surge of violence against Tajik citizens in Russia coincided with the Federal Migration Service actively identifying Tajik "illegals", and Mr Onishchenko announcing the epidemiological risk posed by Tajiks. Therefore, gentlemen, we urge you to bear in mind that you are people in charge elected and paid by us. And we may require you to perform the obligations you have taken on vowing to the Constitutions of your countries. We are convinced that ordinary citizens of Tajikistan and Russia, Tajik and Russian inhabitants in the both countries, should never become victims and hostages of your electoral, political and geopolitical games. We base our belief on the principle that there is no collective responsibility for certain individuals’ acts in a civilised country. We encourage you to be more responsible in your words and deeds as they could be used as directives by radical groups against national minorities. Murders resulting from domestic violence will also increase when grains of controversy hit an artificially heated soil of hatred. As long as you're at the helm it is in your will to nip xenophobia in the bud and stop it from spreading in our countries. Do not allow the seeds of hatred and enmity to be sown between the nations. Demonstrate that you do serve the people and justice. Show that you are standing on guard for the foundations of your states indeed, and that you are serving the true long-term national interests of your countries rather than transient values and short-term rewards. Yet it is in your power to require the competent authorities to prosecute accurately and punish duly such anti-human acts that destroy lives, human relations, and the principles of peace and harmony between nations and within them. Otherwise, sooner or later you also will bear the responsibility for the murders and spreading waves of violence, for the damage inflicted on the inter-ethnic and inter-state relations.

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