Tajik Islamic party leader rejects police murder claims

Tajik Islamic party leader rejects police murder claims
# 19 September 2015 22:26 (UTC +04:00)

“These claims are groundless. The attempts of the Tajik government to file false claims is nothing new,” Muhiddin Kabiri told Anadolu Agency on Saturday.

Thirteen executives of the recently banned IRTP were detained Thursday after the prosecutor general pressed charges of collaborating with Abduhalim Nazarzoda, accused of masterminding a Sept. 4 attack in Dushanbe and Vahdat cities.

These left eight police officers and nine assailants dead, according to official Tajik news agency, Khovar. Other Tajik media had claimed the death toll was as high as 33.

The prosecutor's office said all of the detained party officials were taken into custody as they attempted to flee the country, including Sayyid Omar Huseyni, the IRTP’s deputy chairman.

Tajikistan’s Interior Ministry confirmed Wednesday that Nazarzoda, who was dismissed from duty by President Emomali Rahmon following the allegations, was killed along with at least 10 of his supporters in the Ramit Gorge area, located about 150 kilometers [93 miles] east of capital Dushanbe, where he was said to be hiding out.

The ministry said in a joint statement with the state intelligence committee that Nazarzoda and his followers were killed after they refused to surrender.

Kabiri said that their party was not affiliated in any way with the late deputy minister, claiming that this was just another attempt on the part of the Tajik government to "file false claims” both against himself and his party,” for which they have so far failed to provide any “conclusive evidence”.

Calling the detention of 13 party executives a “mistake” on the part of the government, Kabiri said that these people were not affiliated with Nazarzoda.

"I hope the Tajik government will realize they made a mistake, and release them,” he said, adding that the IRPT would continue to support the detainees as well as their families.

"The Islamic Renaissance Party has never had any affiliations with Nazarzoda or other armed groups, and never will,” he said.

“The Islamic Renaissance Party, who, according to international observers and experts, got the highest number of votes in the election, has – despite the fraud in election results – forsaken its rights to sustain the environment of peace and stability in the country, and never resorted to violence.”

As the country's sole officially registered Islamic party, the IRPT was represented in the Tajik parliament for 15 years until the March elections, when it failed to pass the electoral threshold, and was left out. The party challenged the results, claiming fraud.

The party was banned by the Ministry of Justice on August 28, saying it did not have enough popular support to qualify as a registered party. The party’s offices across the country were closed, the statement said.