Tajikistan: Investigate Attack on Opposition Leader
Freedom House calls on the government of Tajikistan to investigate thoroughly and without prejudice the beating of opposition leader Makhmadali Khait. According to press reports, Khait, the Deputy Head of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), Tajikistan’s largest opposition party, was attacked the night of April 19th near the entrance to his home in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe. The perpetrators fled the scene. Khait has been hospitalized and is receiving medical care.
Tajikistan is currently preparing for a presidential election in November of this year. President Emomali Rahmon, who has ruled the country since 1994, has not yet announced if he will run again. The IRPT has come under increasing persecution in the past twelve months as the election draws near. In July, a regional leader of the party in Gorno-Badakshan province was murdered during a military operation. Another local leader from Gorno-Badakshan is currently being tried behind closed doors in Dushanbe for organizing mass disorders during the military operation. Freedom House urges the international community and the United States government to raise the issue of persecution of the IRPT at the highest levels with the government of Tajikistan.
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