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Tajikistan waits for confirmation of opposition leader's murder in Turkey

March 06, 2015, 9:28 UTC+3
The opposition leader reportedly received a gun shot to the head
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© AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici

DUSHANBE, March 6. /TASS/. The law enforcement agencies of Tajikistan are waiting for the Turkish authorities to confirm the information on murder of Tajik opposition leader Umarali Kuvvatov.

Kuvvatov was murdered around 22:30 local time on Thursday in the Fatih district of Istanbul. Local citizens told the police that he was walking alone when an unknown man approached him from behind and shot him in the head from a close range. The perpetraitor then quickly left the crime scene.

Tajikistan had put Kuvvatov on the international wanted list on fraud charges and declared his opposition movement Group 24 as an extremist organization.

Kuvvatov's 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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