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Turkey should fully investigate murder of Tajikistani opposition leader Umarali Kuvvatov

This statement was originally published on 6 March 2015 on freedomhouse.org.

In response to the March 5 murder of Tajikistani opposition leader Umarali Kuvvatov in Istanbul, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“We are shocked by the murder of opposition leader Umarali Kuvvatov, which has all the hallmarks of an assassination,” said Susan Corke, director of Eurasia programs. “It sends a chilling message to all who dare criticize Tajikistan's president, Emomali Rahmon. The government of Turkey should fully investigate this murder and bring the killers to justice.”

Background:

Umarali Kuvvatov was a Tajikistani businessman who headed 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 in Istanbul in relation to a string of robberies. Tajikistan requested his extradition, but Turkish authorities released him after clearing him of the original charges. He was seeking refugee status in Turkey at the time of his murder.

Turkey is rated Partly Free in Freedom of the World 2015, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2014, and Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2014. Tajikistan is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2015, and Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2014.

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