Press release

Tajikistan Opposition Leader Kuvvatov Facing New Dangers

After Tajikistan requested the extraditionTajikistani opposition leader Umarali Kuvvatov from Turkey, Freedom House issued the following statement.

Washington


In response to Tajikistan’s request for extradition from Turkey of Tajikistani opposition leader Umarali Kuvvatov, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“We are deeply concerned for the safety of Umarali Kuvvatov if he is sent to Tajikistan or to another country where he could be subject to torture,” Robert Herman, vice-president for programs. “In recent years, several members of Tajikistan’s political opposition have been physically attacked, prosecuted, and jailed. If returned to Tajikistan, Kuvvatov will not be able to receive a fair trial, and he will be at serious risk of mistreatment in prison. Turkey should remember its obligations under international law not to return individuals to countries where they could face torture.”

Background:
Umarali Kuvvatov is a Tajikistani businessman who heads the opposition movement “Group-24.” In December 2012 he was detained in Dubai at the request of the Tajikistani government, and was released in September 2013, after being pardoned by Dubai. In October 2014, the Supreme Court of Tajikistan ruled that “Group-24” was an extremist movement and banned its activities and publications. On Dec. 20, 2014, Turkish authorities arrested Kuvvatov for an alleged visa violation. Tajikistan has requested his extradition.

Tajikistan is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2014, and Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2014