Russia Extradites Brother Of Opposition Tajik TV Director To Dushanbe, Relatives Say

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Russian authorities have extradited to Tajikistan the brother of the director of an opposition online television station, according to relatives who spoke with RFE/RL on October 9.

Relatives of Asliddin Sharifov told RFE/RL that police in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg arrested him in September 2022 and extradited him to Tajikistan on October 1 after he spent almost a year in extradition detention.

Tajik authorities have yet to comment on the alleged arrest and extradition of Sharifov, whose brother, Shavkat Muhammadi, is director of the opposition Payom online TV channel.

Muhammadi, who resides in a European Union member state, told RFE/RL that Tajik officials have refused to provide information about Sharifov’s current whereabouts.

Sharifov’s relatives cited official documents of the Tagilstroi district court in the Russian city of Nizhny Tagil as saying Sharifov is wanted in Tajikistan for alleged cooperation with two banned opposition groups — the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) and the Group 24 movement. The charge stems from his online posts “supporting the two banned groups,” the Russian court’s documents say.

The IRPT, long an influential party with representatives in the Tajik government and parliament, was labeled a terrorist group and banned in Tajikistan in 2015.

Dozens of IRPT officials and supporters have been prosecuted and many of them imprisoned, drawing criticism from human rights groups.

Group 24 was labeled as terrorist and extremist and banned in the tightly controlled former Soviet republic in 2014. In March 2015, the movement’s founder, businessman Umarali Quvatov, was assassinated in Istanbul.

If convicted of cooperating with the banned groups, Sharifov may face up to eight years in prison.

Dozens of Tajik opposition figures and activists living abroad are wanted by the Tajik authorities on charges of terrorism and extremism.

President Emomali Rahmon, who has run the Central Asian nation for almost 30 years, has been criticized by international human rights groups over his administration’s alleged disregard for independent media, religious freedoms, civil society, and political pluralism.

Source : Rferl