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Qishloq Ovozi

Mahmadali Hayit in April 2007

On March 20, Human Rights Watch released a statement calling on Tajik authorities to immediately release Mahmadali Hayit, the deputy leader of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), from prison. The statement said Hayit was seriously ill and had been tortured.

In May 2018, the working group on arbitrary detention at the United Nations Human Rights Council released a statement saying the detention of Hayit violated international law and urging Hayit be released immediately and "accord him an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations, in accordance with international law."

Hayit remains in prison.

RFE/RL's media-relations manager, Muhammad Tahir, moderated a discussion on Hayit's situation.

From Germany, independent Tajik journalist Humayra Bakhtiyar joined the conversation. From Uzbekistan, our friend Steve Swerdlow, the Central Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch, took part in the talk. From Prague, Salimjon Aioubov, the acting director of RFE/RL's Tajik Service, known locally as Ozodi, participated in the discussion. And I had something to say also.

Majlis Podcast: The Continuous Torture Of A Tajik Opposition Leader
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Young women stroll through a park in Tashkent in August 2018.

The Majlis podcast dedicated its September 23, 2018 episode to the topic of feminism in Central Asia.

A young woman from Kyrgyzstan, Zere Asylbek, had just released a music video in which she sang about greater freedoms for women. Since then, a protest movement of concerned mothers has grown in Kazakhstan and several hundred people in Bishkek used the March 8 International Women’s Day to rally for feminism.

In the September podcast, we promised to bring back our three guests to discuss whether any progress had been made in advancing women’s rights in Central Asia.

So, joining us once again were singer Zere Asylbek; Kamilla Sultanova, an Uzbek social activist from the Finnish branch of the nongovernmental organization Global Dignity; and from Kyiv, journalist Bermet Talant, who is originally from Kyrgyzstan.

Majlis Podcast: Coming Back To Feminism In Central Asia
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About This Blog

Qishloq Ovozi is a blog by RFE/RL Central Asia specialist Bruce Pannier that aims to look at the events that are shaping Central Asia and its respective countries, connect some of the dots to shed light on why those processes are occurring, and identify the agents of change.

Bruce Pannier
Bruce Pannier

Content draws on the extensive knowledge and contacts of RFE/RL's Central Asian services but also allow scholars in the West, particularly younger scholars who will be tomorrow’s experts on the region, opportunities to share their views on the evolving situation at this Eurasian crossroad.

The name means "Village Voice" in Uzbek. But don't be fooled, Qishloq Ovozi is about all of Central Asia.

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Majlis Podcast: What Does Pressure On Xinjiang Activist In Kazakhstan Tell Us?
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Majlis Podcast: What Does Pressure On Xinjiang Activist In Kazakhstan Tell Us?
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