Human Rights Watch (HRW) is criticizing the Tajik authorities for shutting down the Amparo rights group in Tajikistan's northern city of Khujand.
A court there took the action on October 24
, saying the group was operating without a proper license.
Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at HRW, issued a statement on October 25 calling the decision politically motivated.
He also called it "a transparent attempt to silence voices working on critically important issues such as torture and the rights of military recruits and a major step backward for human rights in Tajikistan."
Amparo, founded by young Tajik lawyers in 2005, monitors human rights violations, torture allegations, and the rights of the Tajik Army soldiers.
The group's leaders say they will appeal the court's decision.