Write to Russia: Bakhrom Khamroev – imprisoned for his political and religious beliefs and human rights work

Bakhrom Khamroev is a Russian human rights activist and head of the Yordam Foundation for Legal and Social Support for Migrants. He was a member of Memorial Human Rights Centre until that organisation’s liquidation in April 2022 and an activist with the Uzbek opposition Birlik People’s Movement. Sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment, Memorial has designated Bakhrom Khamroev a political prisoner.

In custody since 24 February 2022, on 23 May 2023 Khamroev was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment on charges of ‘Public incitement of terrorist activity, public justification of terrorism or propaganda of terrorism, committed by means of mass media or electronic media, including the internet’ (Article 205.2, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code) and of ‘Taking part in the activities of a terrorist organisation’ (Article 205.5, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code). On appeal his sentenced was reduced by three months (the charge under Article 205.2, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code relating to events before 2013 was reclassified to come under Article 282.2, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code – ‘Taking part in the activities of an extremist organisation’ – and dismissed on the basis of the statute of limitations). The court ruled that Khamroev would serve the first three years of his imprisonment in a cell-type prison and the subsequent 11 years in a strict regime penal colony

Khamroev’s criminal prosecution began on the morning of 24 February 2022, the first day of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, when his apartment was searched in connection with an investigation into ‘public incitement of terrorism on the Internet’ (Article 205.2, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code). According to investigators, the human rights activist ‘promoted terrorism’ in six posts on his personal Facebook page by publishing materials allegedly related to the activities of the Islamic party Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is banned in Russia. The next day Khamroev was remanded in custody and he has been in detention ever since.

Having studied the materials of the case, we have concluded that the criminal prosecution of Khamroev is politically motivated and unlawful. An analysis of the texts with which Khamroev is charged shows that four of the six posts had nothing to do with Hizb ut-Tahrir. The remaining two posts directly refer to Hizb ut-Tahrir, but do not contain incitement to violence. As in other cases related to Hizb ut-Tahrir, the experts to whom the prosecution refers have not conducted a substantive analysis of specific materials but proceed from the assumption that any mention of the organisation in the given materials is sufficient grounds to constitute propaganda of terrorism. Such a conclusion is erroneous and illegitimate. The political nature of the prosecution is also indicated by the fact that Bakhrom Khamroev’s activities to protect the rights of Russian Muslims and migrants from Central Asia have attracted the attention of both Russian and Uzbek special services for many years. Numerous examples of Khamroev’s unlawful persecution have been well documented by journalists. A final point is that the charges against Khamroev, formerly a member of Memorial Human Rights Centre, of justifying terrorism appear closely linked to the attempt to make similar accusations against the Human Rights Centre itself. Assertions that Memorial Human Rights Centre was allegedly engaged in the justification of terrorism were part of the lawsuit filed in November 2021 by the Moscow City Prosecutor’s Office. In turn, it was the criminal case against Khamroev that served as the grounds for the searches of the organisation’s premises in March 2022.

‘Human Rights Defender Bakhrom Khamroev is a political prisoner’, Political Prisoners. Memorial, 24 May 2022

Write to Russia

To write to Bakhrom Khamroev to express your support for hIm, please send your letter as an email to us at: letters-to-prisoners@protonmail.com. We shall translate the letter into Russian for you and either, depending on your request, mail the translated letter on your behalf to Bakhrom or return the letter to you for posting in an envelope with an address written in Russian. If we send the letter on your behalf, we ask that you compensate us for the cost of postage from the UK (currently £2.20 – $2.73; €2.52). To learn more about our letter writing project, click here: Write to Russia.

On 24 December 2023, Memorial reported that Bakhrom Khamroev had arrived at the prison where he is to serve his sentence. The address for writing letters to him is:

600020, Владимирская область, г. Владиимир, ул. Большая Нижегородская, д. 67, ФКУ Т-2 УФСИН России по Владимирской области, Хамроеву Бахрому Мардоновичу, 1963 г.р.

If you would like to write to another person unjustly deprived of liberty in Russia, the project Write to Russia has so far highlighted the following cases:

  1. Sasha (Alexandra) Skochilenko – imprisoned for peaceful anti-war protest – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-2/
  2. Mikhail Zhilin – imprisoned for refusing to fight against Ukraine – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-3/
  3. Aleksei Arbuzenko – imprisoned for protesting the war against Ukraine – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-4/
  4. Aleksei Navalny – imprisoned for peaceful participation in electoral politics – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-5/
  5. Evgeny Zinich- imprisoned for his faith – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-6/
  6. Alsu Kurmasheva – held on remand for her work as a journalist – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-7/
  7. Bakhrom Khamroev – imprisoned for his political and religious beliefs and human rights work – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-8

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