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Tajikistan Blocks YouTube and News Site On Eve of Election

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, November 5 2013

Rakhmon with Dmitry Medvedev (Wikipedia)

On the eve of the presidential election in Tajikistan, users of certain Internet providers were unable to access YouTube or the popular news portal Ozodagon. A source close to the Tajik government told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that these partial blocks were ordered by the State Communications Service.

The presidential election scheduled for Wednesday was called, by the Associated Press, “an election in name only.” The only real rival to the president has been banned from running, and those “challengers” remaining have praised President Emomali Rakhmon, who has been head of state for more than two decades.

Rakhmon came into the position in 1992 when the Soviet Union collapsed. Al Jazeera reports that he “is often seen on state television surrounded by well-wishers who sing him odes and address him as 'your highness.'"

In addition to the Internet blockages, there have also been reports on crackdowns of opposition party members. On October 30, activist Umeddzhon Tojiev, a member of a major opposition party, was arrested for "insubordination to police officers." Then on November 4 Tojiev allegedly jumped out of a third floor window of a police station after being interrogated.

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