Tajikistan: government seeks extradition of two opposition politicians from Turkey


DUSHANBE (TCA) — Authorities in Tajikistan have lodged a formal request for Turkey to extradite two Tajik opposition politicians who were detained in Istanbul on March 19, RFE/RL’s Tajik Service reports.

Tajik Interior Ministry spokesman Umarjon Emomali told RFE/RL on April 10 that Dushanbe is in talks with Ankara on the extradition of the leader of Group 24, Suhrobi Zafar, and another member of the opposition organization, Nasim Sharipov.

Emomali did not specify exactly when Tajik authorities asked Turkey to extradite the two men.

On March 23, Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) Central Asia researcher, Steve Swerdlow, told RFE/RL that Turkey’s Constitutional Court had ruled to suspend their possible extradition amid concerns that they might face torture while in custody in Tajikistan.

The Tajik Embassy in Ankara and Tajik Interior Ministry officials told RFE/RL that they had no information about the two politicians.

Group 24 spokesman Saidali Ashurov, who also lives abroad, told RFE/RL that the possible extradition of Zafar and Sharipov has been suspended for three months.

Tajik authorities banned Group 24 in 2014 after labeling it an extremist group.

Group 24 was founded by fugitive tycoon Umarali Quvatov, who was shot dead in Turkey in March 2015.

Opponents of Tajik President Emomali Rahmon who live abroad say they believe Quvatov’s killing was orchestrated by authorities in the Central Asian country.

Several members of the group were jailed in Tajikistan after he was killed.

Sergey Kwan