12 August 2015, 13:45
Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan Political Council converges in Istanbul
Dushanbe, August 12, Interfax - The largest opposition force in Tajikistan, the Islamic Renaissance Party, has held a meeting of its Political Council in Istanbul, Turkey, the party press service reported on Wednesday.
The party had to do so as it feared for its chairman Muhiddin Kabiri who has not returned to his home country since March 2015.
"The Islamic Renaissance Party Political Council has held a meeting in Istanbul to confer on preparations for the next party congress, the escalating pressure of the authorities on party members and a possible reshuffle of the party leadership," it said.
The party failed to win at least one parliament seat for the first time in the modern history of Tajikistan in the March 1 parliamentary elections.
The governmental newspaper Chumkhuriyat said in early June that Islamic Renaissance Party members were leaving Tajikistan for Syria to join ISIL ranks. The same newspaper published an article on June 18 to accuse party leader Kabiri of fraud in selling a land plot.
"As always, the Islamic Renaissance Party is opposed to restrictions on party operations and pressure on its followers and is adherent to the tolerance policy," the report said.
Kabiri who left on a lecture tour to Europe immediately after the elections said he feared to return back to his home country because of the threats made against his family and the possible opening of a politically-motivated criminal case against him. Such things have happened to other opponents of Tajik President Emomali Rahmon who has been in office for the past 23 years.
The Islamic Renaissance Party is the only legal religious party operating in the post-Soviet space.
Experts criticize Tajik authorities that stomp on any unauthorized manifestations of Islam. Dozens are thrown in jail yearly on counts of religious extremism which human rights defenders describe as a reaction to the persecution of religion, poverty and lack of education.
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