A lone gunman shot and killed one of Tajik President Emomali Rahmon’s most aggressive critics on March 5. Some observers have drawn parallels between the murder of Umarali Quvvatov and the late February assassination of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.
Quvvatov, the leader of a Tajik opposition group called Gruppa 24, was gunned down in Istanbul. He was seeking asylum in Turkey at the time of his killing, which was reported first by Turkish media in the early hours of March 6.
While the motive and contextual details remain unclear, many observers suspect Quvvatov’s killing had a political connection.
Speaking to journalists on March 6, Muhiddin Kabiri, the leader of the opposition Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), compared the killing to the recent deaths of Nemtsov and Rakhat Aliyev, the former son-in-law of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Aliyev’s death was officially listed as a suicide, although his lawyers questioned that finding.
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Chris Rickleton is a freelance writer who specializes in Central Asia.