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Tajik Tax Police Shut Down Independent Newspaper

27 January 2005 -- Tajik authorities have shut down "Nerui Sukhan," one of the remaining independent newspapers in Tajikistan.

Jamshed Kasirov, a spokesman for the Tajik tax police, today told RFE/RL that the tax police shut down the printing house that publishes "Nerui Sukhan" on charges of tax evasion.

Nuriddin Qarshiboev, who heads Tajikistan's National Association for Independent Media, tells RFE/RL he sees the closure as a move to muzzle independent voices before next month's parliamentary polls.

"What happened with 'Nerui Sukhan' newspaper is an official attempt to close down an alternative source of information ahead of [parliamentary] elections," Qarshiboev said.

The closure comes after the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) last week said that the political environment in Tajikistan ahead of the poll is one of increased centralization of power by the ruling party, and the narrowing of media and political rights for others.