Tajikistan’s Islamic Revival Party (IRPT) has announced that the beating of its veteran activist, Khikmatullo Sayfullozoda, on Monday by unidentified persons was a “carefully planned assault on the party and its members.” The announcement was circulated following yesterday’s meeting of the party’s political council that assembled to discuss the attack.
IRPT’s announcement also calls on the government and Tajikistan’s law-enforcement agencies to investigate the assault thoroughly. Earlier, the party’s representative in the national parliament, Sayidumar Khusayni, had a telephone conversation with the Tajik interior minister, Abdurahim Kahhorov, requesting proper and quick investigation of the attack. The minister has promised that the persons who had brutally beaten the IRPT activist will be found and punished. In addition, independent Tajik media associations have also said they were ready to launch their own investigation into the assault on Sayfullozoda, who serves as the editor-in-chief of IRPT’s weekly newspaper, Najot.
Although the IRPT’s announcement does not blame anybody directly for the attack, it mentions that the government’s increasing authoritarianism and its infringements on freedoms of media, speech and conscience have “laid the ground for such attacks.” The ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDPT), which is officially headed by the president, has reacted immediately, arguing that the government’s recent efforts have improved the situation with media freedoms and freedom of speech in the country. Earlier, leader of Tajikistan’s Communist Party (CPT) and member of parliament Shodi Shabdolov said it was highly unlikely that the assault on Sayfullozoda had been politically motivated.
Sayfullozoda has been hospitalized with numerous head injuries, but his condition has now improved.