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LGBT Rights Watchdog Stops Operations In Tajikistan Under Pressure

BUSTON, Tajikistan -- A group defending gay rights in Tajikistan's northern region of Sughd says it has been forced to stop its operations following a series of inspections by local authorities.

Albina Ishquvatova, who chairs Rohi Zindaghi (Life Path), told RFE/RL on November 3 that the NGO had been under constant pressure from the authorities. She said she believes their goal was to shut the group down.

"We have been exhausted by endless inspections by the local administration, fire safety officials, the prosecutor's office, other official bodies, and made the decision to stop our organization's activities," Ishquvatova said.

In June, Tajik authorities announced that all international and nongovernmental organizations, as well as political parties, must make regular reports about their financial operations under anticorruption legislation signed by President Emomali Rahmon in May.

Rights defenders have criticized Rahmon, saying that the amendments to existing legislation were aimed at justifying crackdowns and restricting human rights and civil freedoms.

Rahmon, who has ruled the Central Asian nation since 1992, is criticized by rights groups and government foes over the suppression of opposition and alleged corruption in government agencies.

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

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