WP lists Tajik president among five human rights abusers backed by the US

10/09/2015 17:05
Asia-Plus
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DUSHANBE, September 10, 2015, Asia-Plus – An article “Five Human Rights Abusers Backed by the U.S. Whom You Never Heard Of,” which was posted on The Washington Post (WP)’s website on September 8, lists Tajik President Emomali Rahmon alongside leaders of Bahrain, Chad, Euqatorial Guinea, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan among human rights abusers backed by the United States.

The article, in particular notes that under Rahmon, Tajikistan's human rights abuses have grown.  He has cracked down hard on political opponents as well as independent media.  His security forces routinely use torture to obtain confessions, according to Human Rights Watch.  They have also targeted lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people, and cracked down on religious freedoms.  Freedom House describes the country as "Not free."  Last month, the group said that a banning of an opposition  by Rahmon's government confirms that the country is now a "dictatorship."

The article says that Rahmon, in a 2010 U.S. diplomatic cable leaked by WikiLeaks, was described, along with his family, as playing “hardball to protect their business interests, no matter the cost to the economy writ large.”  It described a culture of “cronyism and corruption” plaguing the country.  The United States, though, considers Rahmon as vital to American interests in Afghanistan  and preventing Islamic militancy and opium smuggling from spreading into Central Asia.

In late August, Gen. Lloyd Austin III, head of U.S. Central Command, visited Rahmon in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, to discuss bilateral cooperation in counterterrorism and to fight the drug trade, the article notes.

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