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U.S. Concerned Over Access To Websites In Tajikistan

The United States has expressed concerns over inaccessibility of a number of websites in Tajikistan.

In its June 4 statement, the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe urged the Tajik government "to lift any restrictions" on RFE/RL's Tajik- and Russian-language websites, Facebook, and other Internet news and social-media sites.

"The right of individuals to express their views freely is universal, whether exercised in a public square or on the Internet," it added.

The websites have been inaccessible in the Central Asian state since May 28.

Asomuddin Atoev, the chairman of Tajikistan's Association of Internet Service Providers, told RFE/RL that access to the sites was being blocked by some Internet service providers based on an oral order from the State Communications Service.

Atoev said reports about a top Tajik police commander who appeared on the Internet on May 27, saying that he had joined the Islamic State (IS) extremist group, were behind the order.

Officials at the state Communications Service said they have nothing to do with the Internet blockage.

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