• KGS/USD = 0.01138 -0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00221 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09353 0.97%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01138 -0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00221 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09353 0.97%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01138 -0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00221 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09353 0.97%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01138 -0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00221 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09353 0.97%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01138 -0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00221 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09353 0.97%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01138 -0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00221 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09353 0.97%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01138 -0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00221 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09353 0.97%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01138 -0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00221 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09353 0.97%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

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Arrests of People from Tajikistan Who Crossed Border into U.S. Fuel Terrorism Worries

The reported arrests in the United States of eight people from Tajikistan with possible ties to a terror group has renewed concerns about extremism in the Central Asian country, which faced a backlash after the alleged involvement of some of its nationals in a terror attack in Russia in March. U.S. officials have provided little detail on the arrests of the men who had crossed into the United States from Mexico last year, though the development added to tension over the surge in illegal crossings at the southern border. Immigration and border security are a major campaign issue ahead of the U.S. presidential election in November. Patrick Lechleitner, the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE, was asked on Wednesday about reports that background checks on the Tajik men failed to turn up any cause for concern. In an interview with the NewsNation network, Lechleitner said another agency, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, had first contact with the men as they crossed the border. “Sometimes there is just no information on individuals. I mean, it’s quite common…  There is nothing,” he said. “There´s no criminal convictions, there’s no threat information or whatever on these individuals, or maybe these individuals are from an area that is particularly of concern, but that pops up later.” ICE was collaborating with the FBI and “we went out and got” the suspects after becoming aware of concerns about them, Lechleitner said. American law enforcement previously warned of the growing threat of terrorism on U.S. soil after the killing of about 145 people in an attack on the Crocus City Hall, an entertainment venue on the outskirts of Moscow, on March 22. The Islamic State group said it carried out the attack, and several people from Tajikistan were among suspects arrested by Russian authorities. “Now increasingly concerning is the potential for a coordinated attack here in the homeland, akin to the ISIS-K attack we saw at the Russia concert hall a couple weeks ago,” FBI Director Christopher Wray told U.S. lawmakers on April 11. ISIS-K is an acronym used for an affiliate of the Islamic State branch that operates in Afghanistan and has sought recruits from Central Asia, particularly Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The Crocus City Hall killings led to a backlash of suspicion against many Tajik migrants in Russia and difficult conditions for those trying to enter Russia in order to work, generating diplomatic tension between Moscow and Dushanbe and worries about the flow of remittances that are a vital part of Tajikistan’s economy. Tajikistan has not commented publicly on the arrests of the Tajik men in the United States. The Tajik government has previously said it is doing what it can to combat terrorism, downplaying questions about whether some of its internal restrictions, including on religious expression, might be contributing to radicalization. U.S. media reports, including from NBC News and ABC News, said the arrests occurred in New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles this past weekend. The reports relied...

Women in Central Asia in Need of Protection from Violence

 Central Asian Countries are seeing a new wave of violence against women and girls, and the fight against their long-standing powerlessness is just beginning. In 2023, the Women, Peace and Security Index (WPS Index), published by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and the PRIO Centre on Gender, Peace and Security, found Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan the most dangerous countries in Central Asia for women. Things were deemed slightly better in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. The challenges faced by women in the region result from a combination of factors: the low number of women in government and law enforcement, women’s lack of financial independence, especially in rural areas, a distorted understanding of traditions across populations, and a mentality in society that often denies or covers up flagrant cases of injustice.   The law is written in blood: the case of Kazakhstan According to WPS experts, Kazakhstan has progressed further than its neighbors toward equality. Still, according to Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, 69 women and seven children died in 2023 in domestic conflicts alone. It is believed that, on average, at least 80 women die every year at the hands of those they live with; every day, the police receive hundreds of calls, while thousands of women need the help of specialized protection and support centers. According to the Prosecutor General, last year 150 women sustained severe injuries and 200 moderate injuries in marital conflicts, with another 4,000 suffering minor bruises. This year, however, marked a turning point for Kazakhstani society – more and more women are recording videos with marks from beatings, posting the videos on social media, and calling on the police to punish their abusers. Even high-profile domestic abusers can now be exposed. The trigger for these changes was the trial of former Nazarbayev-era Minister of the National Economy, Kuandyk Bishimbayev, who beat his wife, Saltanat Nukenova, to death last November. Following a live-streamed trial, this May, Bishimbayev was sentenced to 24 years in prison for her murder. Even during the Bishimbayev trial, Karina Mamash, the wife of a Kazakh diplomat in the UAE, went public with allegations about systematic abuse, calling on the state to help. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urgently recalled her husband, Embassy Counselor Saken Mamash, who may be fired. Karina is now at home with her children while a criminal case has been opened against her husband. She has since reported threats from her husband's relatives. Also in May, Akmaral Umbetkalieva, a resident of Atyrau, alleged that her ex-husband, Rinat Ibragimov – the akim (mayor) of Makat District in Atyrau Region – had beaten her for eleven years and taken away their children. Ibragimov called the allegations slander. The month before, former Taldykorgan police chief, Marat Kushtybaev was sentenced to eleven years for raping a girl in his office in November 2023. Another headline from April was that a security guard at an Almaty bar who had been convicted of raping a girl at knifepoint would serve eight years in prison. The...

Eight Men from Tajikistan, Suspected of Terror Links, Face Deportation from U.S.

Authorities in the U.S. have arrested eight people from Tajikistan who have possible ties to the Islamic State group, according to U.S. media reports. The men had entered the United States through the southern border with Mexico after background checks failed to turn up any security concerns and were detained this past weekend in New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, according to the reports on Tuesday. The reports cited officials who were familiar with the investigation and requested anonymity. Agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, arrested the men on immigration charges after being alerted by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces of their possible links to the terror group, according to the sources. “At least two of the men crossed the border in the spring of 2023 and one of those men used the CBP One app, created by the Biden administration to allow migrants to book appointments to claim asylum, those officials say, NBC News reported. “The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Taskforce has been aware of a potential terror threat originating in Central Europe and began monitoring these men as part of that investigation, three sources say.” ABC News carried a similar report, saying U.S. authorities had “uncovered derogatory information indicating ties or affiliation” with the Islamic State. “Efforts are underway to deport the suspects as currently authorities have not developed enough evidence to bring any terrorism charges,” ABC said. Several men from Tajikistan were among suspects arrested for the killing of more than 140 people in an attack on the Crocus City Hall, an entertainment venue, on the outskirts of Moscow on March 22. The Islamic State group, which has recruited some people from Central Asia, claimed responsibility. The extremist group has disseminated propaganda in languages including Tajik and Uzbek. Earlier this year, ICE agents arrested an Uzbek man with alleged Islamic State ties after he had been living in the United States for over two years, U.S. officials said. The man, Jovokhir Attoev, was held after crossing the southern border in 2022, but later released. In May 2023, Uzbekistan put out a notice saying Attoev was wanted for his alleged links to the militant organization.

Human Rights Organization Demands Release of Tajik Journalist

The Washington DC.-based human rights organization Freedom Now and the American law firm Dechert LLP have sent a letter to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, calling for the release of the Tajik journalist and human rights activist Mamadsulton Mavlonazarov. The letter says that the 72-year-old Mavlonazarov, also known as Muhammadi Sulton, was imprisoned for criticizing Tajikistan's authorities. The journalist, a former state security colonel, was arrested in 2022 and sentenced to seven and a half years in prison on charges of publicly calling for a violent change in the constitutional order, and insulting representatives of the authorities through the media or the internet. In their appeal to the UN, the signees state that Mavlonazarov's current condition is unsatisfactory, and voice fears for his health. He has severe swelling of his legs and kidney problems, due to which he has been hospitalized several times. “We hope that the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention will conclude that Mavlonazarov's detention violates his fundamental right to freedom of expression, in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and he should be released,” the letter reads. It is also reported that after he resigned from the state security agencies, Mavlonazarov became a journalist, and was repeatedly threatened for his critical articles, which were published on his Facebook page. Human rights activists claim that he was convicted for his posts and comments about the May 2022 events in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAR). Mavlonazarov's detention came in June 2022 after he sharply criticized Tajik security forces' “counter-terrorism” operation in Rushan district and Khorog, which, according to official figures, resulted in 16 deaths and, according to independent sources, about 40. A month earlier, the Tajik authorities had announced the “neutralization of an organized criminal group” in GBAR.

Close Associate of Tajikistan’s Prime Minister Rasulzoda Detained on Suspicion of Large-Scale Fraud

Mukim Ashurov, a relative by marriage of Tajikistan's prime minister Kohir Rasulzoda, has been detained on suspicion of fraud, Radio Ozodi reports. The Department of Internal Affairs in the country's Sughd region said on May 30 that “the case against Mukim Ashurov is being investigated under Part 4 of Article 247 (Fraud committed on a large scale) of the Criminal Code of Tajikistan,” which carries a penalty of a fine or imprisonment for 8 to 12 years. Ashurov, 65, is currently being held in Khujand's pre-trial detention center. “It was established that several years ago, he entered the confidence of a resident of [the city of] Khujand and received from him 320 thousand dollars for the sale of a four-story store. But then he sold the store to another person but did not return the amount he had originally received,” a statement from the department says. There is not much information about Ashurov in the public domain. According to official data he is a resident of Sughd's Bobojon Gafurov district. A man named Mukim Ashurov has a Facebook profile that says that he lives in Khujand, and works as the director of a travel agency. He is said to be very influential within the circle of the country's prime minister, Kohir Rasulzoda. Ashurov's son, Parviz Ashurov, is married to Rasulzoda's eldest daughter.

Tajikistan Doubles Down on Fines for Wearing “Foreign Clothes”

Residents of Tajikistan will face fines ranging from 8,000 to 65,000 somoni for "importing and selling clothes that do not correspond to the national culture" and for wearing such clothes in public places, as reported by Radio Ozodi. These regulations are outlined in Article 18 of the new version of the law "On Regulation of Traditions and Rites" and the Code of Administrative Offenses. The drafts were adopted by parliamentarians on May 8 this year. "In the draft law 'On the Regulation of Traditions and Rites,' a corresponding prohibiting norm is included in part two of Article 18. For its violation, amendments and additions to Article 481 of the Code of Administrative Offenses provide for administrative responsibility," explained Mavludakhon Mirzozoda, a deputy of the lower house of Tajikistan's parliament. Article 481 of the current Code of Administrative Offenses addresses not only Article 18, but also broader non-compliance with the norms of the Law on the Regulation of Traditions and Rites. According to this article: Individuals will be fined 7,920 somoni ($733). Officials will be fined 39,600 somoni ($3,665). Legal entities will be fined 57,600 somoni ($5,333). Individual entrepreneurs, scientists, and religious figures will be fined 54,000 somoni ($4,998). For repeated violations, fines will range from 46,000 to 86,000 somoni. The recent amendments have updated this article, although changes to the fine amounts are yet to be confirmed. The average wage in Tajikistan is approximately $172 a month. According to the current legislation, the amendments to the law come into force upon publication in the official press after approval by the Majlisi Milli (lower house) and the president's signature. However, citizens are already being compelled to comply with these new regulations. The current law does not specify which clothing is considered alien to Tajik national culture. Experts suggest that the law likely pertains to women's national dress, although the text itself does not differentiate between men's and women's clothing. Reactions within Tajik society have been mixed. Some residents of Dushanbe, during a street survey, expressed their opinion that people should have the freedom to choose their own attire without compulsion. Tajik authorities have long campaigned to encourage the wearing of national dress and to discourage the adoption of foreign styles. They prohibit women from wearing black clothing, black headscarves, and hijabs, considering them alien to Tajik culture and traditions. Although mini-skirts, sweaters, dresses with cleavage, tops, and transparent fabrics were also banned at one point, these restrictions were quickly "forgotten."

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