Tajik Official Defends Appointment Of President's Son As Mayor

DUSHANBE -- A senior Tajik official says President Emomali Rahmon's recent appointment of his eldest son as mayor of the capital, Dushanbe, was "lawful."

The Director of Tajikistan's State Service Agency, Juma Davlatov, was responding to a question from an RFE/RL correspondent.

Davlatov said that Rahmon's son Rustam Emomali, 29, has three university diplomas and is fully qualified for the post.

He added that the appointment was in line with a policy under which the state seeks to attract young people to government jobs, and that some 44 percent of Tajik officials are under 35 years of age.

Emomali was appointed mayor by his father on January 12.

Rahmon has nine children. One daughter holds a high position in the Foreign Ministry, and another is his chief of staff.

Rights groups and opponents say Rahmon, who has ruled the poor, predominantly Muslim former Soviet republic since 1992, tolerates little dissent and suppresses his critics.