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HRW Urges Moldova Not To Extradite Activist To Tajikistan

Human Rights Watch is urging Moldova not to extradite opposition activist Sobir Valiev to Tajikistan because he could be face abuse and/or torture.

Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, told RFE/RL that "there is clear evidence that there's a risk that Mr. Valiev would face torture or ill-treatment if he was returned to Tajikistan, and therefore we believe this is the responsibility of Moldova to adhere to its international human rights commitments and not return him to Tajikistan."

He added that it is "no secret" that Tajik authorities are "actively hunting down political opposition figures."

Valiev, 27, is deputy head of the Congress of Constructive Forces of Tajikistan, a peaceful opposition group.

He was detained by Moldovan officials on August 11 at the request of Tajik authorities at the airport in Chisinau as he was boarding a flight to Istanbul.

Valiev is also the deputy head of Group 24, a political opposition group that was led by Umarali Kuvvatov, who was shot dead in Istanbul on March 5.

Group 24 says Kuvvatov was killed on orders by Tajik officials.

Group 24 was declared an "extremist group" by Tajikistan's Supreme Court in October after its members called for an opposition rally to be held in Dushanbe.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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