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Tajik Opposition Politician Detained Ahead Of Election

KHATLON, Tajikistan -- An opposition politician who intended to run in Tajikistan's March 1 parliamentary election has been detained on embezzlement charges.

Firdavs Sohibnazarov's mother told RFE/RL on February 4 that her son was apprehended on February 3 and sent to a detention center in the city of Qurghonteppa.

Sohibnazarov leads the local branch of the Social Democratic Party (HSDT) in the southern Huroson district.

HSDT national leader Rahmatillo Zoirov told RFE/RL that authorities said the accusations against his colleague were linked to the "disappearance of $43,000" from a bank where Sohibnazarov used to work as a financial expert.

The HSDT nominated Sohibnazarov as a parliamentary candidate last month, but he was informed on January 31 that he was barred from running because he was under investigation.

Sohibnazarov told RFE/RL at the time that he believes the case was fabricated to keep him out of the election.

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

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