Another Tajik Blogger Detained In Moscow, Colleagues Fear Extradition To Dushanbe

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DUSHANBE -- A Tajik blogger from the country's restive Gorno-Badakhshan region has reportedly been arrested in Moscow and may be extradited to Tajikistan, where his colleagues say he faces illegal incarceration and arbitrary prosecution.

Two colleagues of Komyor Mirzoev told RFE/RL that the blogger was detained in Moscow on September 6 along with several other Tajik men. There is no information about their current whereabouts.

Mirzoev's blogs have been critical of the Central Asian state's government.

Last week, relatives of another Badakhshan native, Mamadbek Atobekov, say he was detained in Moscow. His current whereabouts are also unknown, while his relatives say they fear that he might be extradited to Tajikistan.

Two weeks earlier, another Tajik blogger from the restive region, Maqsud Ghayosov, was arrested in Moscow and has been held incommunicado since.

The Pamir Daily News website, which monitors developments in Gorno-Badakhshan, says at least 20 of the region's natives have been detained in Moscow and forcibly brought to Tajikistan in the last six months.

Relatives and rights defenders say that the arrests in Moscow are most likely linked to mass protests in the region that were violently dispersed by the authorities in May.

Deep tensions between the Tajik government and residents of the volatile region have simmered since a five-year civil war broke out shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Protests are rare in tightly controlled Tajikistan, where President Emomali Rahmon has ruled with an iron fist for nearly three decades.

The latest crackdown on activists in Gorno-Badakhshan followed protests initially sparked by anger over the lack of an investigation into the 2021 death of an activist while in police custody and the refusal by regional authorities to consider the resignation of regional Governor Alisher Mirzonabot and Khorugh Mayor Rizo Nazarzoda.

The rallies intensified after one of the protesters, 29-year-old Zamir Nazrishoev, was killed by police on May 16, prompting the authorities to launch what they called a "counterterrorist operation."

The escalating violence in the region has sparked a call for restraint from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Western diplomatic missions in Tajikistan, and human rights groups.

Also, on September 7, a 72-year-old former Tajik security officer, Mamadsulton Mavlonazarov, went on trial on charges of calling publicly for the forcible change of the country's constitutional order and insulting an official on the Internet or media.

It is not clear what the charges stem from. Mavlonazarov's Facebook posts have been critical of the State Committee for National Security.

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