Tajik Officials Confirm Missing Migrant Leader's Extradition From Russia

By RFE/RL's Tajik Service

DUSHANBE -- Tajik authorities have confirmed for the first time that a Tajik migrant in leader in Russia, whose disappearance last month raised concern among his relatives and friends, was extradited to the Central Asian nation.

Prosecutor-General Yusuf Rahmon told reporters in Dushanbe on February 2 that Amriddin Alovatshoev had been extradited from Russia at the request of Tajik authorities due to an unspecified criminal case launched against him. Rahmon did not give any details.

Alovatshoev’s family in Tajikistan's remote Gorno-Badakhshan region said earlier that they last heard from him on January 11.

Some Tajik media reports said at the time that Alovatshoev was "abducted" in Russia so that he could be extradited to Dushanbe on January 13, which Tajik authorities denied.

The Interior Ministry told RFE/RL at the time that Alovatshoev was not among those included on the registry of wanted persons.

Alovatshoev’s disappearance came as prosecutors reportedly launched a new probe into four-day demonstrations in the volatile region that killed three people and injured at least 17 others in November.

The protests in the provincial capital, Khorugh, broke out on November 25 after security forces fatally wounded a local man wanted on charges of kidnapping. They demanded a probe into his death.

The rally turned violent when protesters tried to seize the local government building, prompting security forces to open fire on the crowd, eyewitnesses said.

On the same day, a group of people from Gorno-Badakhshan staged protests in front of the Tajik Embassy in Moscow with the same demands as the demonstrators in Khorugh. Alovatshoev was said to be at the rally.

During a government meeting in Khorugh on January 10, one official accused Alovatshoev of inciting anti-government sentiment among young people in Gorno-Badakhshan, "from abroad."

At least 15 Tajik anti-government activists and opposition supporters have disappeared in Russia since 2015, human rights defenders say. Some of them have reappeared in Tajikistan -- often in police custody, facing dubious charges ranging from fraud to extremism. The whereabouts of others remain unknown.