The Tajik government has approved new rules for the burial of suspects killed in anti-terrorist operations or those killed in a terrorist attack, according to which their bodies will not be handed over to relatives, the Tajik service of Radio Liberty (Radio Ozodi) reports.
According to a government decree, available to Radio Ozodi, local authorities will bury terrorist suspects in secret from their relatives, in a closed coffin and in a place indicated by the investigating authorities, while the burial place will not be disclosed.
The only thing that will be known about the deceased is the date of burial, the name of the medical institution that issued the death certificate, as well as the name and address of the organization that carries out the burial. If the person killed during the counter-terrorist operation turns out to be a foreigner, the Tajik Foreign Ministry will inform the diplomats of the respective country about this.
Prior to this, the security forces, as Radio Ozodi clarifies, allowed relatives to take the body and bury it on their own. A limited number of relatives took part in the funeral, the bodies were brought from the morgue to the cemetery under the control of law enforcement agencies.
Tajik authorities occasionally report the arrest of suspected terrorists and the disclosure of their plans to carry out terrorist attacks. At the same time, as Radio Ozodi notes, international human rights organizations regularly criticize the Tajik authorities for intensifying repressions against civil activists and dissidents under the pretext of fighting extremism and terrorism.
For example, in the fall of 2022, Radio Ozodi published the names of 34 people who died during protests in Khorog and the Rushan district of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region. According to official information, 29 people were killed. The authorities described the dead as “members of criminal gangs”, but their relatives claimed that most of them were ordinary civilians and did not have weapons.
Protests in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region began on May 14. People demanded the resignation of the head of GBAO Alisher Mirzonabot and the mayor of the city of Rizo Nazarzoda, the removal of all roadblocks, an end to the persecution of residents of Gorno-Badakhshan, as well as a fair investigation into the murder of Gulbiddin Ziebekov and two other people during the November 2021 rallies in Khorog.
On May 17, a wave of protests moved from Khorog to the Rushan region. The next day, the authorities announced an “anti-terrorist operation”, referring to the fact that the protesters attacked a convoy of security forces and blocked a section of the international highway between Tajikistan and China.
The “anti-terrorist operation” in GBAO lasted a month (from May 18 to June 17). During this time, the Internet and mobile communications in the region were disabled. The Ministry of Internal Affairs announced the detention of 220 people and the initiation of criminal cases against 53 people. Dozens of residents of Gorno-Badakhshan received lengthy sentences after closed trials. Three people were sentenced to life imprisonment.
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