Tajikistan Islamic opposition: activist attacked

Some within the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan say the wave of public anger sweeping parts of the Arab world could be repeated in Tajikistan.

Tajikistan Islamic opposition: activist attacked

Tajikistan's main opposition party accused the government on Wednesday of trampling on civil rights and neglecting its people, its harshest censure since a 1997 agreement to end a five-year civil war.

The Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan said in a statement, issued two days after an activist was attacked outside his home, that corrupt, authoritarian rule had eroded democracy in the impoverished Central Asian state, which borders Afghanistan.

"There has been a regression in the paramount values of national unity, which are being replaced by authoritarian state leadership, corruption, the trampling of religious and political rights and a neglect of the hopes of the people," it said.

The ruling People's Democratic Party denied the accusations. It said Tajikistan, ruled since 1992 by President Imomali Rakhmon, had free media and eight functioning political parties.

Tajikistan is the poorest of five former Soviet republics in Central Asia. With an average monthly wage of $80, the Muslim nation, but secular government relies heavily on remittances from migrant workers, as well as aluminium and cotton exports.

Some within the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan, which has over 40,000 members, say the wave of public anger sweeping parts of the Arab world could be repeated in Tajikistan.

The Islamic Revival party issued its statement after unknown assailants attacked Khikmatullo Saifullozoda, editor of its in-house newspaper and outspoken government critic, on Monday.

The United States condemned the attack on the party's 60-year-old press secretary, who remains in hospital with severe head injuries, and called for a "thorough investigation".

"This unprovoked attack on a member of a legitimate political party was an attack on political expression in Tajikistan," the U.S. Embassy in Tajikistan said in a statement.

"Denial"

The Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan formed the core of the alliance that fought government troops in a civil war from 1992 to 1997, during which tens of thousands were killed. It now occupies the only two opposition-held seats in parliament.

A peace accord, brokered by Iran, Russia and the United States, stipulated that opposition parties should get 30 percent of government posts.

The party made no accusation with regard to the identity of the attackers, but partly blamed "those who, to satisfy their political ambitions, have paved the way for such crimes to be committed".

The governing People's Democratic Party issued an immediate response.

Party member Usmon Solekhov said each of the eight parties were represented on the Social Council and had a direct line to the president. "You can't say there is any retreat from democracy, or any absence of free speech in our country," he said. "The president himself has made every ministry accountable to the media on a quarterly basis, and he demands transparency."

Tajikistan shares a porous 1,340-km (840-mile) border with Afghanistan. Authorities jailed more than 100 members of "banned" groups last year.

Agencies

Last Mod: 09 Şubat 2011, 14:30
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