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Tajikistan Reportedly Detains Relatives Of Warsaw Protesters

Human Rights Watch says it is checking reports that authorities in Tajikistan detained some 50 relatives of Tajik activists who had staged a protest at an OSCE conference in Poland this week.

HRW’s Central Asia researcher Steve Swerdlow told RFE/RL that, if confirmed, the detentions would be defined as a "human rights violation."

Swerdlow said some 20 Tajik opposition and rights activists residing in Europe held a silent protest in Warsaw on September 19 during a conference session where the situation of human rights in Tajikistan was being discussed.

The protesters wore T-shirts with portraits of Tajik opposition politicians and lawyers who were jailed in the country in recent months. Human rights groups have called the cases politically motivated.

Tajik government officials told RFE/RL they do not have any information about the alleged arrests.

Sources in Tajikistan's State Committee for National Security said the detentions took place across the country and have nothing to do with the protesters in Poland.