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Tajikistan demands extradition of opposition businessman from Turkey

January 16, 2015, 12:41 UTC+3 DUSHANBE

Umarali Quvvatov's opposition movement Group 24 was declared an extremist organization after calls for a mass rally in Dushanbe on October 10

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Presidential residence in Tajikistan's Dushanbe (archive)

Presidential residence in Tajikistan's Dushanbe (archive)

© ITAR-TASS/Sergey Zhukov

DUSHANBE, January 16. /TASS/. Dushanbe has demanded from the Turkish authorities that Tajik opposition politician Umarali Quvvatov, who was detained in Istanbul last month, be extradited to his homeland, Tajikistan’s Interior Minister Ramazan Rakhimzoda said on Firiday.

Quvvatov was detained in Istanbul in December at the request of the Tajik Prosecutor-General's Office, which had put the fugitive businessman on the international wanted list on fraud charges and declared his opposition movement Group 24 as an extremist organization.

Group 24 was accused of attempting to overthrow the government and banned in Tajikistan. Media reports said members of the group used social media to call for a mass rally in Dushanbe on October 10. Activists were demanding free elections, fight against corruption and resignation of President Emomali Rahmon, who has led the Central Asian state since 1992.

The planned rally did not take place, but the Tajik authorities took unprecedented security measures, arresting three citizens of the republic on suspicion of being members of the banned extremist group. As a preventive measure, the government communications agency blocked access to more than 200 websites used by the opposition, including popular social networks Facebook and VKontakte.

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