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The former head of the IRPT district branch in Dangara died in the prison colony

Former IRPT activist Rajabali Komilov, who was sentenced in September 2018 to 10 years in prison on charges of participating in the activities of banned organizations, organizing a criminal community and illegally crossing the state border, died suddenly in a penal colony in the city of Vahdat, on the morning of January 5, on his birthday.

The cause of death has not been officially reported. A close relative of Rajabali Komilov told  the NGO Freedom Eurasia that documents on the cause of death have not yet been received.  

“On the evening of January 4, immediately after dinner, Rajabali felt a sharp pain in his abdomen. He asked the guards to call doctors, but the colony staff did not respond to his complaints. My brother endured unbearable pain until the morning, the cause of which we still do not know, asked for medical assistance, but the colony staff, despite Rajabali’s condition, did not provide it. At 7 a.m., Rajabali died,” his brother Dzhanatullo Komilov, told the NGO Freedom of Eurasia.

Rajabali Komilov was born on January 5, 1961 in Dangara district.

From 1999 to 2002, he headed the IRPT district branch in Dangara.

In 2002, the Tajik authorities charged the IRPT activist with attempting to overthrow the constitutional order and put him on the wanted list.

In 2018, Rajabali Komilov was detained by officers of the State Committee for National Security of Tajikistan in Dushanbe. Between 2002 and 2018, Rajabali Komilov went into hiding while in Tajikistan.

In September 2018, the Supreme Court in Dushanbe sentenced the political activist to 10 years in prison under Articles 307 (3), 187, and 335 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Tajikistan. Moreover, charges of illegally crossing the state border of Tajikistan were brought against Rajabali Komilov for the events that took place during the civil war in the country (1992-1997), when the Radjabov family was forced to flee the republic due to security threats.

The brother of the deceased activist, Janatullo Komilov, who currently lives outside Tajikistan, said that he received threats from employees of the State Security Committee before and after participating in a peaceful protest during the visit of Tajik President Emomali Rahmon to Germany, September 29, 2023.

“I was openly threatened with my brother’s life. They said: “We will destroy him.” Janatullo took part in the protest despite the threats. The day after the protest, Rajabali became ill during the morning prayers. He spent two weeks in a coma. He was in the hospital for a month. The relatives managed to get him transferred from the colony in Dushanbe to a correctional facility in the city of Vahdat. Two weeks before his death, he started feeling better. He began to speak and was already walking. My brother did not suffer from any chronic illnesses before his incarceration. And in the colony, doctors said that he had diabetes, heart problems, and also that he suffered from hypertension. I’m sure my brother was killed. They took revenge on me because the Tajik authorities repeatedly threatened my relatives, demanding that I voluntarily return to my homeland and surrender to law enforcement agencies,” said Dzhanatullo Komilov.

In 2019, Human Rights Watch reported that Rajabali Komilov was sentenced to 10 years in prison for membership in the IRPT and crimes allegedly committed during the 1992-1997 civil war in Tajikistan. Dzhanatullo Komilov reported that the case against his brother was initiated in order to force him to return to the country.

On September 29, 2015, the Supreme Court of Tajikistan banned the activities of the only Islamic Party in Central Asia, recognizing its activities as terrorist. The court ordered the closure of the newspaper Najot and the website of the same name, which belonged to the Islamic Party. Official Dushanbe accused the party leadership of attempting a coup d’état.

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