Austria has extradited Tajik national suspected of high treason to Dushanbe.  Tajik authorities say he is the fourth Tajik national extradited by the countries of the European Union to Dushanbe.  

The 28-year-old native of Jomi district of Khatlon province, Hizbullo Shovalizoda, was reportedly extradited by Austrian authorities to Dushanbe on March 5. 

According to a statement released by the Prosecutor-General’s Office of Tajikistan, Hizbullo Shovalizoda is an active member of the banned Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT).  He ii reportedly charged with high treason (Article 305 of Tajikistan’s Penal Code) and participation in an extremist organization (Article 307 of Tajikistan’s Penal Code).  

Shovalizoda reportedly joined the IRPT in 2016 when he was working as labor migrant in the Russian Federation.  Shovalizoda has taken a terrorism training course in one of foreign countries, says the statement.

The Prosecutor-General’s Office notes that IRPT members A. Kuzov, N. Zabichoyev, A. Rizovonov, D. Ismoilov, M. Navrouzov and some others, who were detained in Tajikistan during 2016-2019, “have given evidence about Shovalizoda’s involvement in the mentioned crimes.” 

The Prosecutor-General’s Office stresses that abovementioned persons have taken a military sabotage training outside the country and illegally crossed into Tajikistan for the purpose of committing terrorist acts.  

“Earlier, Tajik nationals Loiq Sherali, Mustafo Hayotov and Komron Zuhurov wanted by Tajik law enforcement authorities for participation in terrorist organization were extradited from the European Union to Tajikistan under support of the EU competent bodies,” the state notes.      

Recall, Tajik opposition activists in exile last month urged Austria not to extradite Hizbullo Shovalizoda to Dushanbe.  

Vaisaiddin Odinayev, a Tajik political activist abroad, told Radio Liberty on February 27 that Shovalizoda arrived in Austria a year ago, but was not granted asylum as he sought but instead was placed under arrest on January 22.

According to Odinayev, although Shovalizoda is not a member of any political party, he used to be a supporter of the United Tajik Opposition and openly supports the National Alliance of Tajikistan, which unites several Tajik opposition political parties and movements in exile.

Odinayev also said that Shovalizoda was arrested in Austria at the request of Tajik officials, who allege he is involved in extremist activities.  

In October, Tajikistan's Supreme Court labeled the National Alliance of Tajikistan as a terrorist and extremist organization.