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Tajikistan 'Ready To Help' Russians Find Tajik Dissident's Attacker


Tajik dissident Dodojon Atovulloev was stabbed in Moscow on January 12.

Tajik dissident Dodojon Atovulloev was stabbed in Moscow on January 12.

DUSHANBE -- Tajik Interior Minister Ramazon Rakhimov says Tajik investigators would assist Russian officials in investigating an attack against a well-known Tajik dissident in Moscow, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Lieutenant General Rakhimov told journalists in Dushanbe on January 20 that "at this point there is no official request from Russian officials to help in the investigation, but if such a request is made, we are fully ready to assist in that matter."

Rakhimov said he learned about the attack against Tajik government critic Dodojon Atovulloev from the media.

He added that Atovulloev's statement saying that the attack against him might have been masterminded by people in the Tajik government is "his personal opinion and has no basis in fact."

Atovulloev, who lives permanently in Moscow, was attacked by an unknown man with a knife on January 12.

He was brought with multiple stab wounds to hospital at Moscow's Sklifosovsky Medical Center, where he is currently being treated.

Atovulloev, 56, is well known for his articles harshly criticizing the Tajik government, President Emomali Rahmon, and members of his family.

Atovulloev left Tajikistan in December 1992. He has since lived mainly in Moscow, but spent one year in Germany as well.

He has remained active as a journalist critical of the Tajik authorities throughout.

Atovulloev last visited Tajikistan in 2004, but left abruptly after three days under threat of arrest.

He is the owner of "Charogi Ruz," one of Tajikistan's first independent newspapers, which is critical of Rahmon.

Daniil Kislov, editor in chief of Ferghana.ru, a Moscow-based independent Central Asian news website, told RFE/RL that Atovulloev has been a longstanding irritant for the Tajik government from his safe have in Moscow.

"Dodojon Atovulloev has become a dissident who is inconvenient for the regime [in Tajikistan] and he remains one of Rahmon's uncompromising enemies in the information sphere," Kislov said.

"He has always used the strongest terms and definitions with regard to Rahmon, openly calling him a drug baron and an alcoholic."

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