Tajik opposition leader stabbed in Moscow
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Last Updated: Friday, January 13, 2012, 23:27
Moscow: An exiled opposition leader from Tajikistan whose party and publications angered the ex-Soviet nation's authoritarian leader was stabbed in Moscow, police and associates said on Friday.

Dodojon Atovulloyev was attacked yesterday in central Moscow on the way out of a restaurant and was hospitalised with two knife wounds, Moscow police said in a statement.

Atovulloyev's associate Dilovar Ashurov told The Associated Press that after a complicated operation the politician "feels normal".

He declined to comment whether the attack was related to Atovulloyev's political activity.

Police also said a 23-year-old Tajik national was detained shortly after the assault on Atovulloyev with traces of blood on his hands and clothes. He was released, however, after his "innocence was proven," police said.

The 56-year-old Atovulloyev left Tajikistan in 1992 and lives in Germany and Russia. He leads the Vatandor (Patriot) party, which is opposed to the policies of President Emomali Rakhmon.

He also edits the Charoghi-Ruz (Light of Day) newspaper that fiercely criticises Rakhmon and has been banned by his government.

Most of Rakhmon's political opponents have been jailed on charges they call trumped up or were forced to leave the country.

Rakhmon came to power in 1994 after a civil war between a secular government and mostly Islamic opposition.

Almost two decades after the war, the mountainous nation of 7.5 million remains the poorest former Soviet republic. Around half the male working-age population work abroad, mostly in Russia, and many labour migrants support Atovulloyev's party.

Atovulloyev returned to Tajikistan in 2004, but left shortly after saying he feared for his life.


First Published: Friday, January 13, 2012, 23:27

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