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Election Official From Opposition Islamic Party Detained In Tajikistan

DUSHANBE -- An opposition Islamic party leader who is a member of Tajikistan's Central Election Commission has been detained on suspicion of illegal weapons possession ahead of March 1 parliamentary elections.

The State Committee for National Security said on February 11 that Jamoliddin Mahmudov, one of the leaders of the Islamic Renaissance Party (HNIT), was detained in Dushanbe.

In a statement, the security agency said police found two Makarov pistols and ammunition in the home of HNIT member Latif Sardorov in the western Khisor district of Tajikistan.

The statement said Sardorov told investigators that Mahmudov had given him the pistols in 1996 and asked Sardorov to keep them for him.

The HNIT played an important role in Tajikistan's 1992-1997 civil war that left tens of thousands dead and over one million displaced.

The HNIT is the only Islamic party in former Soviet Central Asia that is officially registered and represented in a parliament.

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