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Monday, June 27, 2005


Tajik oppositionists face arrest

From EurasiaNet:

Mahmudruzi Iskandarov was first detained in Russia in December on a warrant from the Tajik prosecutor’s office.

The Russian authorities released Iskandarov in April, after four months in custody. But two weeks later, he mysteriously disappeared from Moscow only to turn up under arrest in Tajikistan. He has been in custody there since.

On 20 June, U.S. Embassy official John Chamberlain reminded the Tajik authorities about their legal obligations to Iskandarov.

"The United States calls on the Tajik authorities to permit Mr. Iskandarov’s access to his legal counsel in accordance with Tajikistan’s own laws and international standards," Chamberlain said.

The Islamic Renaissance Party (IRP), another opposition party, is now claiming that it too is the victim of a campaign aimed at tarnishing its image.

Two IRP members were arrested in Khatlon province recently. The IRP claims the two were detained because they did not answer an "invitation" from the local prosecutor’s office. Local IRP leader Hoja Kalandar Saddriddinzda questioned the entire case surrounding the two men.

"[IRP member] Saifiddin Faizov, resident of Bokhtar, and another Islamic Renaissance Party member were detained for hooliganism," Saddriddinzda told RFE/RL. "Also the prosecutor’s office had asked them several times to come in for questioning. The Islamists say such an ’invitation’ without concrete questions or a case aims to cast the party’s image in a bad light."

The charge of hooliganism appears to stem from allegations that Faizov was using foul language in a mosque. In majority-Muslim Tajikistan that accusation certainly won’t help the IRP.

Two members of yet another opposition group, the Social-Democrat Party (SDP), were also jailed last week in the northern Soghd region.

The SDP leader from Soghd’s Mastcho District, Nizomiddin Begmatov, received one year in jail and Nasim Shukurov got 18 months for hooliganism. The SDP claims the two were imprisoned because on 27 February, parliamentary election day, they brought protests over the conduct of the poll to the district court head. The court official did not accept the protests.

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