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Tajik Politician Sent To Remote Jail After Interview

DUSHANBE -- A jailed Tajik politician has been transferred to a remote penal colony shortly after giving an interview to RFE/RL.

Mahmadruzi Iskandarov, the former leader of Tajikistan's Democratic Party who is serving a 23-year sentence, gave an interview to RFE/RL last week in which he questioned the 1997 peace agreement that ended the civil war in Tajikistan.

The war that erupted in 1992 claimed at least 50,000 lives before the agreement was signed.

Iskandarov said in the interview that the agreement was "wrong" and the peace was "false."

Iskandarov's brother, Abbosiddin Homidov, told RFE/RL on August 18 that the politician was transferred "for expressing his views" in the interview.

Homidov said Iskandarov was taken from a jail cell in Dushanbe, the capital, to a penal colony in the faraway town of Vahdat "to keep him away from media."

Officials at Tajik Penal System Control Agency confirmed Iskandarov's transfer but refused to comment.

Iskandarov, a former CEO of TajikGaz Company, was found guilty in 2005 of terrorism, illegal arms possession, attempted murder, embezzlement, and abuse of office and sentenced to 23 years in jail.

Iskandarov and his supporters say the charges were politically motivated.

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

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