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Greek Authorities Detain Leading Member Of Tajikistan's Banned Islamic Renaissance Party

Greek authorities have detained a leading member of Tajikistan's outlawed Islamic Renaissance Party (IRPT), a spokesman for the party told RFE/RL on October 11.

IRPT press secretary Mahmudjon Faizrahmonov said that a member of the IRPT's political council, Shohnaimi Karim -- also known as Mirzorahim Kuzov -- was detained at the Athens airport late on October 9 while en route from Warsaw to Tehran after attending a conference organized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

He cited Greek authorities as saying that Karim was detained at the request of Interpol.

Tajik authorities branded the IPRT a terrorist group and banned it in 2015, claiming it organized an armed mutiny along with former Defense Minister Abdulhalim Nazarzoda in September of that year an attempt to seize power. Nazarzoda and several supporters were killed by Tajik security forces.

More than 12 leading IRPT members and lawyers for the party were convicted of involvement in organizing the mutiny and sentenced to lengthy prison terms in 2016. IRPT members and the party leader Muhiddin Kabiri, who now lives in exile, rejects the accusations.

Faizrahmonov told RFE/RL that Karim left Tajikistan before the violence in 2015 and has been living in Turkey and Iran.

Once the only registered Islamic political party in any of the five predominately Muslim former Soviet republics of Central Asia, the IRPT was represented in the Tajik parliament for 15 years after a 1992-97 civil war.