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Members of the Amparo group appear at a court hearing in Khujand earlier this month.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) is criticizing the Tajik authorities for shutting down the Amparo rights group in Tajikistan's northern city of Khujand.

A court there took the action on October 24, saying the group was operating without a proper license.

Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at HRW, issued a statement on October 25 calling the decision politically motivated.

He also called it "a transparent attempt to silence voices working on critically important issues such as torture and the rights of military recruits and a major step backward for human rights in Tajikistan."

Amparo, founded by young Tajik lawyers in 2005, monitors human rights violations, torture allegations, and the rights of the Tajik Army soldiers.

The group's leaders say they will appeal the court's decision.
Hamza Ikromzoda was found dead in a Tajik prison with suspicious marks on his body.
DUSHANBE -- Relatives of a Tajik prison inmate who died in mid-September are questioning the official autopsy results.

Hamza Ikromzoda's family members say his body carried traces of torture, including burns caused by a hot iron.

They told RFE/RL on October 24 that they officially requested an additional autopsy from the prosecutor-general.

Lawyers for the family say they were told by the prosecutor-general's office on October 23 that the autopsy proved that Ikromzoda had hanged himself.

The lawyers say they were asked to sign papers prohibiting them from making the autopsy results public.

Earlier this month Tajik human rights organizations urged the government to thoroughly investigate Ikromzoda's death, listing six other suspicious deaths in custody.

-- RFE/RL's Tajik Service

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