Khikmatullo Sayfullozoda, a member of the opposition Islamic Revival Party’s (IRPT) political council and editor-in-chief of its weekly newspaper Najot, was beaten severely by unknown persons this morning outside his home in Dushanbe. Sayfullozoda lost consciousness and has been hospitalized with numerous head injuries to one of Dushanbe’s hospitals.
There are no details yet as to who attacked the renowned opposition activist. Scarce media reports only indicate that that attackers were “several young men” (www.avesta.tj, February 7, 2011). Deputy head of the IRPT, Umarali Khisaynov, told media that “two unknown persons” have been following Sayfullozoda over the last two days (www.news.tj, http://www.ozodi.org, February 7, 2011). Police has launched an investigation into the case.
It is also unclear at the moment whether the attack is connected with the recent increase in government pressure on the IRPT. A recent report indicates that the Tajik security forces have used a general crackdown against Islamic extremism in the country as a pretext to increase pressure on Central Asia’s only legal Islamic party.