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Tajik oppositionist Farhod Odinaev (file photo)

MINSK -- A Tajik opposition activist has been detained in Belarus at Tajikistan's request and may be extradited to Dushanbe, Belarusian rights group Human Constanta told RFE/RL.

The group’s Nasta Loyka said on September 26 that authorities detained Farhod Odinaev, who holds Tajik and Russian passports, at a checkpoint along the Belarusian-Polish border a day earlier.

According to Loyka, Tajik authorities want Odinaev for allegedly being a member of a banned organization.

The 42-year-old opposition activist used to belong to the banned Islamic Renaissance Party (IRPT) and for several months in 2013 led Safo TV, an opposition television channel based in Moscow.

The channel was shut down by Russian authorities the same year.

Representatives of IRPT living in exile told RFE/RL that Odinaev had recently obtained a Polish visa to take part in a human rights session of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Warsaw.

Polish-based Muhammadjon Kabirov, who runs the Eurasian Dialog institute that helps Tajik newcomers adjust to Polish society, told RFE/RL that he informed OSCE officials about Odinaev's detention in Belarus and called on them to assist in his release.

The IRPT, long an influential party with representatives in the government and parliament, was labeled an extremist and terrorist group and banned in 2015 -- moves the party and human rights groups say were unjustified and politically motivated.

Dozens of IRPT officials and supporters have been prosecuted and many of them imprisoned, drawing further criticism of President Emomali Rahmon's government from rights groups.

IRPT leader Muhiddin Kabiri has been living abroad since 2015.

Rights groups say Rahmon, who has ruled Tajikistan since 1992, has used the security forces and other levers of power to sideline opponents and suppress dissent.

Russia activist Aleksei Minyailo

MOSCOW -- A court in Moscow has released activist Aleksei Minyailo, who is charged with taking part in mass disorder during an unsanctioned rally in July, from pretrial detention.

The Basman district court on September 26 ordered Minyailo to stay in Moscow while an investigation into his case continues.

Minyailo and several other activists were sent to pretrial detention in early August.

Some of those arrested along with Minyailo were also charged with assaulting law enforcement officers.

Minyailo has insisted that charges against him are groundless because police detained him before he joined the rally on July 27.

Nearly 1,400 demonstrators were held after the July 27 rally to protest the refusal by officials to register independent and opposition candidates for Moscow city council elections.

The strong security response in Moscow has been condemned by rights groups and many Western governments and organizations for a "disproportionate" use of force in breaking up the demonstration.

In all, 17 people were arrested and charged with attacking law enforcement officers during the rally.

Human rights activists insist that events during the July 27 rally were not "mass disorder."

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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