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Russia Investigates Tajik Politician's Abduction

29 July 2005 -- A Russian prosecutor today said that he has launched a criminal case into the abduction of a Tajik opposition leader who later reappeared in custody in his home country, where he will soon face trial.

Prosecutor Anton Kalnin says he opened a probe into the April abduction of Makhmadruzi Iskandarov in Russia by armed men.

Kalnin says that he has made an official request to Tajik authorities to interview Iskandarov.

Russia arrested Iskandarov last December following a request from Tajikistan.

Russia later said it had no legal grounds to hold him, and released him. He was abducted shortly afterward, emerging in a Tajik jail on terrorism and embezzlement charges.

Iskandarov had previously announced his intention to run for Tajikistan's presidency.

His political group, the Tajikistan Democratic Party, has appealed to the international community to help secure his release.