In a press release today, Amnesty International has condemned the murder of Umarali Kuvvatov in Istanbul. Amnesty also warned that his associates are at grave risk of further attacks. Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe and Central Asia Programme Director notes:
Umarali Kuvvatov’s killing sends a chilling and extreme message to Tajikistani political dissenters both at home and abroad. The Turkish authorities must lead an impartial, effective and prompt investigation into his unlawful killing, reveal the full truth and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Amnesty also notes that “In recent years other high-profile persons fleeing persecution have been killed in Turkey, allegedly by foreign operatives. The victims have included former Chechen insurgents and an Uzbekistan-born imam who was critical of the Uzbek government.” The statement highlights the extent to which this latest assassination reflects a wider pattern of criminal activity:
Tajikistani political dissenters and those accused of religious “extremism” have also been abducted and forcibly returned from several former Soviet countries. Amnesty International has numerous cases of security services in Russia and the Central Asian republics colluding in the abduction, disappearance, unlawful transfer, imprisonment and torture of individuals wanted on religious, political and economic grounds. The frequency of these human rights violations amounted to a region-wide renditions programme.
Howard Eissenstat St. Lawrence University