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Tajik Opposition Party Leader Says He Was Attacked In Dushanbe


Tajik opposition leader Rahmatillo Zoirov

The leader of Tajikistan's opposition Social Democratic Party says he has been injured in an attack he believes was politically motivated.

Rahmatillo Zoirov told RFE/RL on November 14 that he was walking his dog late on November 9 in Dushanbe, when a man and woman approached him and began hurling insults, calling him "a traitor."

During the heated exchange a man came up from behind and hit him with a metal bar, Zoirov said. He said he threw up his right hand to protect his head and the bar badly injured his hand.

Zoirov said that he saw several police officers nearby but that they did not rush to assist him. He said he had told police and security officials by phone about the attack hours later and urged them to find his assailants, but that there was no response.

Police told RFE/RL that they have taken no action because they have received no written complaint.

Zoirov, a lawyer by profession, works on a permanent basis in Kazakhstan and periodically travels to Tajikistan, where he has been unable to find a job for years.

Although his party is officially registered in Tajikistan, it has never been represented in the parliament.

Western states and rights groups have repeatedly accused Tajik President Emomali Rahmon's government of stifling dissent and restricting basic freedoms in the former Soviet republic in Central Asia.

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