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Tajik Opposition Leader Ordered Held In Pretrial Detention

Zayd Saidov
DUSHANBE -- A leading Tajik opposition figure and businessman has been been ordered held in pretrial detention for up to two months.

Zayd Saidov's lawyer told RFE/RL that a court in Dushanbe ruled on May 22 that Saidov cannot be released on bail.

Saidov, a lawmaker and the leader of Tajikistan's unregistered New Tajikistan party, was detained on May 19 on charges of corruption.

He has been stripped of his parliamentary immunity.

Saidov denies any wrongdoing and says his case is politically motivated.

He said during the court hearing on May 22 that he is being persecuted for his decision last month to set up his new political party.

Presenting his party's program in April, Saidov harshly criticized the government for "inefficient reforms, pressure on small- and medium-sized businesses, exorbitant prices, and widespread corruption."