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The UN human rights office has expressed concern over the risk of increasing human rights violations in Tajikistan following Dushanbe’s recent decision to ban the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT).

In a statement issued on October 2, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights pointed to the arrest and detention of more than a dozen IRPT members since early September.

On September 29, the Tajik Supreme Court ruled that the IRPT was an "extremist and terrorist organization" and banned it.

The decision followed a long-running campaign by the government against the IRPT.

Thirteen leading members of the IRPT were arrested earlier in September on suspicion of leading a deadly mutiny by a serving deputy defense minister.

The deputy minister, Abduhalim Nazarzoda, was killed in a special-forces operation on September 16 after officials blamed him for attacks on a police station and weapons depot on September 4.

The IRPT was the only Islamic political party legally registered in Central Asia and was party to the 1997 inter-Tajik peace agreement.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP
Belarusian opposition leader and former presidential candidate Mikalay Statkevich had only been released from prison last month.

MINSK -- A Minsk court has fined three Belarusian opposition leaders for holding unsanctioned rallies.

The central district court on September 30 fined former presidential candidate Mikalay Statkevich the equivalent of $500 for holding an unauthorized rally in Minsk on September 16.

Statkevich, who was released on August 22 after serving more than 4 1/2 years in jail for protesting presidential election results in December 2010, was earlier fined $400 by the same court for holding an unsanctioned rally in Minsk on September 10.

Former presidential candidate, Uladzimer Nyaklyaeu, was also fined the equivalent of $300 on the same charges.

And the leader of the opposition United Civic Party, Anatol Lyabedzka, was fined some $400 for the same charges.

Nyaklyaeu was given a two-year suspended sentence for his role in a December 2010 protest against the disputed reelection of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

Opposition leaders and activists held a series of unsanctioned rallies in Minsk this month questioning the transparency of the upcoming presidential election scheduled for October 11, which Lukashenka, who faces no real challenge from three other registered hopefuls, is expected to win.

Statkevich urged attendees at the rally to boycott the vote.

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