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RFE/RL Correspondents Attacked In Dushanbe While Reporting On Gas Price Hikes

RFE / RL's Tajik Service reporters attacked in Dushanbe

DUSHANBE -- Two correspondents from RFE/RL's Tajik service have been attacked in the capital, Dushanbe, while preparing a report on gasoline price hikes.

Shahlo Abdullo and Mullorajab Yusufi were assaulted on March 4 as they interviewed a driver at a gas station.

"The attack on two of our reporters in Tajikistan who were only doing their jobs is absolutely unacceptable," RFE/RL President Jamie Fly said.

"We expect Tajik police to fully investigate this incident and make sure the rights of journalists to report openly and without obstruction is protected now and in the future," he added.

The two correspondents said an employee of the gas station approached and demanded they stop the interview. The employee then pushed Abdullo while trying to cover the lens of her video camera.

As Yusufi intervened while filming the incident with his mobile phone, the attacker assaulted him while saying that the journalists had no right to film on the property without written permission from the company.

Yusufi denied they were filming on the company’s land, saying they were only talking with several drivers who complained about an abrupt increase in the price of gasoline in the Central Asian nation.

Yusufi was treated by a doctor for minor facial injuries.

Investigators at Dushanbe's Sino district police department launched a preliminary investigation into the incident after the two journalists filed a complaint.

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

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