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Late Tajik Islamic Cleric's Son Arrested In Russia, Faces Extradition

Barakatullo Ghoziev's father and two brothers have already been jailed for high treason in Tajikistan.
Barakatullo Ghoziev's father and two brothers have already been jailed for high treason in Tajikistan.

KAZAN, Russia -- Authorities in Russia's Tatarstan region have arrested the son of late Tajik Islamic cleric, an opposition leader, at Tajikistan's request.

Relatives of Barakatullo Ghoziev told RFE/RL on September 5 that a court in Tatarstan's capital, Kazan, had approved his arrest last month.

The Soviet district court in Kazan confirmed to RFE/RL that the 35-year-old was detained for a period of 40 days starting from August 15.

The move came, it said, at the request of Tajik authorities, who accuse Ghoziev of high treason and inciting religious hatred.

The court added that Ghoziev's possible extradition to Tajikistan was pending. Relatives insist that the charges against Ghoziev are groundless.

If extradited to Tajikistan and subsequently convicted, Ghoziev could face up to 25 years in prison.

Ghoziev's father, Said Qyomiddin Ghozi, aka Eshoni Ghozi, a popular Islamic cleric and a leading opposition figure, was kidnapped in the Russian city of St. Petersburg in November 2017 and brought to Tajikistan, where he faced a trial that his supporters and relatives called politically motivated.

He was killed during a prison riot in the city of Vahdat in 2019 while serving a 25-year prison term he was given after being found guilty of inciting hatred, high treason, and public calls to overthrow the government.

His other two sons, Saidmuhammadi and Saidhasan, were sentenced to lengthy prison terms on high-treason charges in 2020 and 2019, respectively.

Saidishoq Boboev of the Civil Committee For Defense Of Political Inmates in Tajikistan told RFE/RL that his group had asked human rights organizations to assist in preventing Ghoziev's extradition to Tajikistan, where, according to Boboev, he would face torture and no chance of a fair trial.

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

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