As the leader of a civil rights-related non-governmental organization, Dilrabo Samadova said she was used to getting hassled by authorities about her group’s activities. But recent government actions to put the clamps on civil society groups like hers in Tajikistan took her by surprise.
Despite the fact that Tajikistan is one of Central Asia’s poorest countries, Tajiks used to consider themselves as better off than their neighbors because they had comparatively more room to operate and pursue their ambitions, Samadova explained. “We used to be … more free than in neighboring countries,” said Samadova, the chair of the young lawyers association, Amparo, which was shut down following a late October Tajik court ruling. “Now we’re going backwards.”
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