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Tajik Authorities Detain Nephew Of Arrested Opposition Leader

Mahmurod Odinaev says the Tajik authorities are targeting his family.
Mahmurod Odinaev says the Tajik authorities are targeting his family.

DUSHANBE -- Tajik authorities have detained on unspecified charges the nephew of Mahmurod Odinaev, the deputy chairman of the opposition Social Democratic Party who is also being held by authorities.

Odinaev's relatives told RFE/RL on December 15 that Zulfiqor Odinaev had been detained 10 days earlier and is being kept in a detention center in the western city of Hisor, adding that neither he nor his uncle had been provided with lawyers yet.

They added that Zulfiqor Odinaev, an aide to his uncle, has yet to be charged and that they have been given no official information on what charges he may be facing.

Mahmurod Odinaev went missing on November 20 after he posted a request on Facebook asking Dushanbe Mayor Rustam Emomali to allow him and supporters of the Social Democratic Party -- the only opposition party functioning in Tajikistan -- to stage a protest over food-price hikes.

According to Odinaev's relatives, they turned to police several times to ask law enforcement officers to begin a search for the missing politician.

However, Interior Ministry spokesman Nusratullo Mahmudzoda said at the time that police were not looking for Mahmurod Odinaev as they had not received a request from his relatives and therefore didn't consider him a missing person.

On December 5, the Tajik Prosecutor-General's Office acknowledged that Odinaev had been arrested in Dushanbe.

According to the authorities, he allegedly conducted an act of hooliganism in a military draft office in Hisor in late October, where prosecutors say he confronted officials over the conscription of his son Habibullo.

That came after the Interior Ministry said in November that another of Odinaev’s sons, Shaihmuslihiddin Rizoev, was charged with hooliganism over his alleged involvement in a brawl.

Odinaev says that unknown attackers had severely beaten his son as part of a pressure campaign being imposed on him for his political activities.

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, who has tightly ruled the former Soviet republic since 1992, has been criticized for crackdowns on opposition political groups, rights defenders and independent journalists.

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

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