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Islamic Renaissance Party Zarafo Rahmoni (file photo)

Relatives of a jailed adviser to former leaders of a banned Islamic party in Tajikistan say her health is rapidly deteriorating and are urging authorities to transfer her to a hospital.

Zarafo Rahmoni, who worked as a legal adviser to the now-shuttered Islamic Renaissance Party's (IRPT) leadership, is the only woman among more than 20 IRPT officials jailed since the party was suspended in August and subsequently banned as a "terrorist" organization.

Rahmoni's sister, Guldasta Khojaeva, told RFE/RL's Tajik Service that Rahmoni has been suffering from a heart condition and kidney ailment since her arrest in September.

"Every time we visit Zarafo, we receive prescriptions for a number of medicines for heart and kidney diseases signed by prison doctors," Khojaeva said. "We purchase the medicines and send them to her."

Rahmoni's family has sent letters to the heads of the National Committee for State Security and the Prosecutor-General's Office urging them to transfer her from prison to a hospital for medical treatment.

The Prosecutor-General's Office has insisted it received no letter and is unaware of any health problems affecting Rahmoni. Prosecutors said Rahmoni's defense team should discuss the issue with investigators.

Rahmoni's lawyer, Zaidullo Davlatyorov, insisted that "the investigators have declined the defense's plea to transfer Rahmoni to a medical facility."

The investigators said only prison doctors have the right to ask authorities to send a detainee to a hospital, the lawyer explained.

The family's concerns over Rahmoni's health conditions follow an earlier claim by relatives that Rahmoni was raped in the detention center.

In a statement issued on November 2, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) said that "Rahmoni informed her sister that she had been raped" while in custody.

Rahmoni has threated to commit suicide if authorities don't release her, the USCIRF statement said.

Rahmoni, a 44-year-old mother of four, has been charged with affiliation with a criminal organization and inciting religious, racial, and interethnic hatred.

Rahmoni denies the charges.

Rahmoni is being kept at the security committee's detention facility in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe.

She was arrested along with 12 other high-ranking IRPT officials on September 16 following a deadly mutiny in Dushanbe that Tajik authorities blamed on Deputy Defense Minister Abduhalim Nazarzoda and IRPT leaders.

Authorities said Nazarzoda led attacks on a police station and an arsenal that killed at least 26 people. Nazarzoda was reportedly killed in an operation by government forces.

The authorities blamed the IRPT for organizing the mutiny, and the Supreme Court ruled that the party was an "extremist and terrorist organization" and banned it on September 29.

Tajik prosecutors said they arrested at least 23 IRPT officials on charges including terrorism, inciting religious and racial hatred, and attempting to seize power by force.

Many also face forgery, fraud, and other economic-crime charges.

The officials deny the accusations.

No date for Rahmoni's trial has been announced.

Written by Farangis Najibullah based on reports by RFE/RL's Tajik Service
The books were reportedly published with the support of the Soros Foundation, a nongovernmental organization founded by billionaire philanthropist George Soros.

A decision by the authorities in a northwestern Russian republic to burn more than 50 books on the grounds they contained ideas "alien to Russian ideology" has sparked dismay in Russia, prompting the Culture Ministry to distance itself from the controversial move.

The books were reportedly published with the support of the Soros Foundation, a nongovernmental organization founded by billionaire philanthropist George Soros.

In November 2015, Russian prosecutors placed two branches of Soros' charity network, the Open Society Foundations (OSF) and the Open Society Institute (OSI), on a list of "undesirable" organizations and banned them from handing out grants.

The local news website 7x7 said 53 books were torched in the yard of a local college.

Citing an official letter (left, click to enlarge) from the regional Education Ministry, the website reported on January 13 that college libraries in the republic of Komi were searched last month for books published with funds from the Soros Foundation.

The letter said the books were destroyed at the request of a presidential envoy.

Russia's combative culture minister, Vladimir Medinsky, was quick to deny his ministry was behind the initiative, which he denounced as "totally unacceptable."

Burning books, he said, "looks so bad" and evokes what he called "strange historical associations" -- an apparent reference to the campaign by 1930s Nazi Germany and Austria to publicly burn books they deemed subversive.
News of the books' destruction in Komi has been met with outrage and ridicule on Russian social networks, with a number of commentators drawing parallels with the Nazi era:

Others have quoted 19th-century German poet Heinrich Heine's famous axiom that "Those who burn books will in the end burn people, too":

According to the director of the Komi college library, Yelena Vasilyeva, torching these books makes no sense since they weren't exactly popular in the first place.

"These books were brought here a very long time ago," she was quoted as saying by 7x7. "I've been working here 11 years and the books were brought before I arrived. Nobody ever borrowed them, they were actually kept in a storeroom."

A 7x7 correspondent who visited Komi's national library in December said it had been asked to prepare a list of books published by the Soros Foundation.

According to the news website, the books included a forensics manual and works on logic, 20th-century Western philosophy, and French surrealism.

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