Tajikistan Blocks NGO from Investigating Press Gangs
Informed observers in Tajikistan are continuing to tell EurasiaNet.org that this week’s shuttering of a prominent human rights group had nothing to do with its alleged technical violations (moving its office without reporting to authorities, publishing its findings on a website) and everything to do with its persistent investigation into abuses of military conscripts.
For the past five years, the Young Lawyers Association “Amparo” has documented press-ganging in northern Tajikistan and provided thousands of families pro bono legal advice. Of late, Amparo had started to look at how its lawyers could help recruits outside of Sughd Province. Moreover, and this is perhaps where the organization stepped over the Tajik authorities’ invisible line, Amparo began expressing concern about abuses of Border Service draftees, not just the Ministry of Defense conscripts. The Border Service is a branch of the State Committee for National Security (GKNB) – the powerful successor to the Soviet-era KGB.
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