While European Union and Tajikistan are to hold another round of high-level talks on human rights on Thursday a leading human rights NGO has called on both sides to address the issue of crackdown on opposition politicians and activists in the country.

Last week the leaders of Tajikistan’s leading opposition party, the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan has been sentenced to long prison sentences. Over 150 political activists, including at least three human rights lawyers are “unjustly jailed”, says the NGO, Human Rights Watch.

It also allege that authorities have subjected relatives of dissidents in exile to violent retaliation such as “arbitrary detention, threats of rape, confiscation of passports and property, and vigilante justice at the hands of sometimes violent mobs.”

“But international outrage, including from the EU, is barely audible,” HRW said, “EU should use this week’s dialogue to make clear there can be no business as usual,” it added.

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