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Family Says Former Islamic Party Adviser's Health 'Deteriorating' In Tajik Jail

Islamic Renaissance Party Zarafo Rahmoni (file photo)
Islamic Renaissance Party Zarafo Rahmoni (file photo)

Relatives of a jailed adviser to former leaders of a banned Islamic party in Tajikistan say her health is rapidly deteriorating and are urging authorities to transfer her to a hospital.

Zarafo Rahmoni, who worked as a legal adviser to the now-shuttered Islamic Renaissance Party's (IRPT) leadership, is the only woman among more than 20 IRPT officials jailed since the party was suspended in August and subsequently banned as a "terrorist" organization.

Rahmoni's sister, Guldasta Khojaeva, told RFE/RL's Tajik Service that Rahmoni has been suffering from a heart condition and kidney ailment since her arrest in September.

"Every time we visit Zarafo, we receive prescriptions for a number of medicines for heart and kidney diseases signed by prison doctors," Khojaeva said. "We purchase the medicines and send them to her."

Rahmoni's family has sent letters to the heads of the National Committee for State Security and the Prosecutor-General's Office urging them to transfer her from prison to a hospital for medical treatment.

The Prosecutor-General's Office has insisted it received no letter and is unaware of any health problems affecting Rahmoni. Prosecutors said Rahmoni's defense team should discuss the issue with investigators.

Rahmoni's lawyer, Zaidullo Davlatyorov, insisted that "the investigators have declined the defense's plea to transfer Rahmoni to a medical facility."

The investigators said only prison doctors have the right to ask authorities to send a detainee to a hospital, the lawyer explained.

The family's concerns over Rahmoni's health conditions follow an earlier claim by relatives that Rahmoni was raped in the detention center.

In a statement issued on November 2, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) said that "Rahmoni informed her sister that she had been raped" while in custody.

Rahmoni has threated to commit suicide if authorities don't release her, the USCIRF statement said.

Rahmoni, a 44-year-old mother of four, has been charged with affiliation with a criminal organization and inciting religious, racial, and interethnic hatred.

Rahmoni denies the charges.

Rahmoni is being kept at the security committee's detention facility in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe.

She was arrested along with 12 other high-ranking IRPT officials on September 16 following a deadly mutiny in Dushanbe that Tajik authorities blamed on Deputy Defense Minister Abduhalim Nazarzoda and IRPT leaders.

Authorities said Nazarzoda led attacks on a police station and an arsenal that killed at least 26 people. Nazarzoda was reportedly killed in an operation by government forces.

The authorities blamed the IRPT for organizing the mutiny, and the Supreme Court ruled that the party was an "extremist and terrorist organization" and banned it on September 29.

Tajik prosecutors said they arrested at least 23 IRPT officials on charges including terrorism, inciting religious and racial hatred, and attempting to seize power by force.

Many also face forgery, fraud, and other economic-crime charges.

The officials deny the accusations.

No date for Rahmoni's trial has been announced.

Written by Farangis Najibullah based on reports by RFE/RL's Tajik Service

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