The Homo Homini Award for 2019 will be presented to prominent Tajik lawyer Buzurgmehr YorovPublished: Feb 5, 2020 Reading time: 2 minutes
The award will be given for his commitment to defending basic human rights and to assure a fair trial to all citizens of Tajikistan. The ceremony will be held on March 5 at the opening of the One World Film Festival. The Homo Homini Award will be presented by Ukrainian director, former political prisoner and 2018 Sakharov Prize laureate Oleg Sentsov.
“We lawyers are not responsible for the actions of our clients, we are just performing our duty. It is our duty, therefore it must be performed to the highest standard,” answered Yorov after a secret service officer asked him to be less active in defending the arrested members of Islamic Renaissance Party.
Mr. Yorov has been promoting human rights in Tajikistan for many years despite facing severe persecution as a result of his work. He did not hesitate to defend clients who were targeted by politically motivated charges, whose cases other lawyers were not willing to take. He publicly complained in an interview that one of his clients was being subjected to torture while in pre-trial detention. As a result of doing his job, this prominent lawyer lost both his property and his freedom.
In 2015, Mr Yorov was one of few lawyers who agreed to represent 13 members of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), and was himself arrested on the same day the Supreme Court of Tajikistan labelled the IRPT a terrorist organization. Police raided both his home and legal office without a warrant. Yorov was detained and ultimately charged with forgery, fraud, “arousing national, racial, local or religious hostility” and extremism.
Before his sentencing, Yorov read aloud an 11th century poem by a Persian poet: “Society is spoiled by a few ignorant people who believe themselves the wisest.” As a result, authorities charged him with contempt of court and he was sentenced to additional two years.
“I am, of course, thinking about my relatives and loved ones, but first and foremost I think about 8 million citizens of my country,” said Buzurgmher Yorov.
The reward will be presented to his brother, activist and lawyer Jamshed Yorov.
Since the 1990s, People in Need has presented the Homo Homini Award to people and groups who have significantly contributed to the defense of human rights, democracy, and the nonviolent resolution of political conflicts. Past laureates include Chinese literary critic and dissident Liu Xiaobo, Azerbaijani lawyer Intiqam Aliyev, or Nicaraguan farmer Francisca Ramírez.
For more information or if you are interested in arranging an interview with Jamshed Yorov, please contact:
Vesna Evans, Media Coordinator, Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, People in Need firstname.lastname@example.org, +420 773 776 501