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Tajik Imam Charged With Torture

Tajik investigators have arrested an Islamic cleric in a town near the capital, Dushanbe, for allegedly holding religious classes at his home in which students were beaten and tortured.

The Tajik State Committee for National Security said in a report on June 3 that Hakimali Nizomov had been charged with torture, polygamy, and conducting illegal religious instruction.

According to investigators, Nizomov's students say they were beaten and tortured with electric shocks while attending his classes.

Nizomov holds a state-issued license allowing him to conduct Islamic classes. He is an imam at a local mosque and madrasah.

The parents of some 80 students between 3 and 18 years of age paid Nizomov 300 somonis ($61) each month for tuition.

Local residents acknowledged that Nizomov sometimes held classes in his home but called his arrest politically motivated and part of the government's anti-Islamic campaign.

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