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BBC journalist detained in Tajikistan

Last Updated: Thursday, June 16, 2011 - 00:11

Dushanee: A BBC Radio
correspondent has been detained in Tajikistan on suspicion of
belonging to an extremist organisation, police said on Wednesday.

Police spokesman Makhmadullo Asaduloyev said
50-year-old Urunboi Usmonov is suspected of being a member of
Islamic movement Hizb-ut-Tahrir, which is illegal in the
Central Asian republic.

According to police, Usmonov, a Tajik citizen, joined
the banned group in 2009 to carry out "propaganda and
promoting this movement in social networks." Calls to BBC
seeking comment were not immediately returned.

Despite its designation as an extremist group,
Hizb-ut-Tahrir has publicly foresworn the use of violence. It
is an international pan-Islamic organisation that operates
legally in many countries, including Britain.

Tajikistan holds strategic importance in the NATO
military campaign in Afghanistan, serving as a link in supply

As the impoverished former Soviet republic fights a
strong Islamic insurgency at the Afghan border, authorities
led by long-time President Emomali Rakhmon have maintained a
tight grip over the media and civil rights groups.

Usmonov has been kept in a high-security prison in
Tajikistan`s north for two days, although the court only
sanctioned his arrest today afternoon, the journalist`s
lawyer, Fayzinisso Vakhidova, told a news agency.

Vakhidova said Usmonov had been denied access to legal
help for two days, adding that he is accused of using his job
to promote the organisation`s ideas.


First Published: Thursday, June 16, 2011 - 00:11

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