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Tajik Poet Threatens Hunger Strike If Uzbeks Close Institute

Dushanbe, 29 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The head of the Tajik Cultural Institute in the Uzbek city of Samarkand is threatening to go on hunger strike unless authorities stop attempts to close the institute.

Hai'at Nemat, a celebrated Tajik poet and the institute's head, told RFE/RL that Uzbek authorities have placed him under house arrest because he prevented police and tax authorities from trying to enter the institute on two separate occassions.

Nemet said that after a recent court ruling, authorities say the building that houses the institute is an Uzbek heritage site, and should be under Uzbek control.

But Nemet said he has documents proving the building is actually a Tajik heritage site, and wants authorities to review the case before they close the institute.

Nemet has also accused authorities of attempting to destroy the institute's collection of rare Tajik literary works.

(RFE/RL's Tajik Service)