03/13/2015, 00.00
TAJIKISTAN
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Tajikistan's opposition elects new leader

Sharofiddin Gadoev is the new leader of Group 24. He succeeds his cousin Uramali Kuvatov, who was killed in Turkey on Sunday. The movement is opposed to the government of President Rakhmon, in office since 1992. No one has yet to be charged in connection with the murder.

Dushanbe (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Tajikistan's opposition Group 24 movement has elected its new leader after its founding leader Umarali Kuvatov was shot dead in Istanbul, Turkey, last week.

Kuvatov's cousin and business associate, 29-year-old Sharofiddin Gadoev, who has been living in self-imposed exile in Spain since 2013, told RFE/RL that the leading council of the Group 24 held its gathering on March 12 and elected him the movement's new leader.

Gadoev declined to say where exactly the gathering was held.

A Tajik businessman, Sobir Valiev, 26, was elected Gadoev's deputy.

Group 24 is opposed to the government of President Emomali Rakhmon, who has led Tajikistan since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1992.

Tajikistan's Supreme Court banned Group 24 in October 2014, after the government labelled it an extremist group. Many opponents then left the country.

A number of those who remained were jailed for protesting in the streets of the capital against the court decision. Last week, one activist was sentenced to 17 years and half in jail for being a member of Group 24.

No one has yet been charged in connection with the opposition leader's murder, and Tajik authorities were quick to deny any involvement.

Kuvatov, a tycoon who once had close ties with President Rakhmon, had worked for a company trading oil products headed by a relative of the president. However, he later became one of his opponent. 

Tajik authorities wanted him on fraud charges and had formally requested his extradition in January.

Kuvatov had left Tajikistan in 2012 moving to Istanbul where he accused the president of corruption and nepotism.

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