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Former Tajik Industry Minister Arrested

Zaid Saidov is a businessman and former industry minister.
DUSHANBE -- A Tajik businessman and former industry minister who recently announced he would create a new opposition party has been detained at the Dushanbe airport upon return from a trip abroad.

RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports that Zaid Saidov was arrested by agents of Tajikistan's anticorruption agency.

The agency said that Saidov is accused of "grave crimes, including fraud, bribery, and abuse of power."

Saidov, along with several Tajik businessmen and academics, announced in April the creation of the New Tajikistan political party.

Speaking to RFE/RL from Paris before his return to Tajikistan, Saidov said the allegations were baseless and were part of growing pressure against him by authorities since he announced his intention to go into politics.

Last week, while Saidov was abroad, authorities opened two criminal cases against Saidov, accusing him of theft and polygamy.