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Turkey: Leader of the Tajik opposition Umarali Kuvatov murdered in Istanbul

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On 5 March 2015, at 22:30 by Istanbul time, in the Simsar Street of the Molla Guraniy community of the Fatih district, leader of the opposition organisation “Group 24” of Tajikistan, Umarali Kuvatov was murdered by shots at close range.
 
Umarali Izatovich Kuvatov, was born on 21 November 1968 in the city of Dushanbe. He was a citizen of Tajikistan He was married and had children. He was an entrepreneur.
         
From 2001 to 2012 U. Kuvatov in cooperation with Shamsullo Sokhibov, the son-in-law of the President Imomali Rakhmon worked on shipment of fuel to the NATO base in Afghanistan. As a result of a conflict with Sokhibov, he had to leave the country and became a member of the opposition.
         
In 2012 Kuvatov became a leader of the «Group 24» movement, which campaigns for stopping the President of Tajikistan. In 2014 the authorities of Tajikistan declared the “Group 24” an “extremist organisation”.
 
Since July 2014, Kuvatov was living in Turkey as an asylum seeker under mandate of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
 
On 19 December 2014 he was arrested by Turkish secret service, following a call from an unidentified caller. On 3 February 2015 he was released in accordance with the decision of an administrative court on a condition that he had to leave Turkey in one month’s time. Not long before the tragedy, Umarali Kuvatov was granted a temporary permission to stay in Turkey legally.
 
For the last three years, Kuvatov received regular threats and noticed surveillance around him of the Tajik looking individuals. The Turkish authorities did not take his reports seriously enough. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees considered his case quite formalistically.
 
Umarali Kuvatov was an active political leader and was courageous in his criticism of corruption Tajik government is mired in and the repression it exercises.
  
The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia expresses condolences to Umarali Kuvatov’s family and his loved ones.
 
We cherish his memory.
Our previous publications on this matter:
        – Press Release «Turkey: the leader of «Goup 24» Umarali Kuvatov is detained» dated 20 December 2014;
        – Press Release  «Turkey: the leader of «Group 24» Umarali Kuvatov faces a threat of extradition» dated 13 January 2015;