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Tajikistan Opposition Politician Dies in Prison


A senior member of Tajikistan's Islamic opposition party has died after spending five years in prison.

The Islamic Renaissance Party (IRP) says the group's deputy leader, Shamsiddin Shamsiddinov, died from cancer on Wednesday. Shamsiddinov was arrested in 2003, and sentenced a year later to 16 years in prison for a series of charges including illegal border crossing and polygamy.

The IRP says he was targeted for his political views.

The IRP fought the former Soviet republic's Moscow-backed government during a 1992-1997 civil war. The party later entered a power-sharing agreement with the government.

In other news, Tajik security officials say more than 500 kilograms of illegal drugs were seized during a raid along the country's border with Afghanistan Thursday.

Officials say several smugglers have also been detained.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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