Two probable prisoners of conscience were among political prisoners released by the government in exchange for hostages held by opposition forces. Two journalists who were detained briefly for possessing an opposition newspaper were prisoners of conscience. A man who "disappeared" in 1992 was found dead. One political prisoner was executed, and at least six death sentences were passed. Armed opposition forces reportedly killed captured government soldiers.

Talks aimed at settling the armed conflict between government forces and armed groups supporting the outlawed opposition convened in Russia in April. They continued during the rest of the year in two further rounds held in Iran and Pakistan. The third round in September led to an agreement on a temporary cease-fire which took effect in October and was still holding at the end of the year. In September the outlawed opposition split when the Democratic Party repudiated its former alliance with the Islamic Renaissance Party.

While pursuing the peace negotiations, the government held a national referendum in November which approved a new constitution. It also held an election to the reinstated office of President. The presidential election was won by the head of state, Supreme Council Chairman Imamali Rakhmonov. His opponent, former Prime Minister Abdumalik Abdullodzhanov, and independent observers alleged that there had been irregularities, including vote rigging and intimidation of voters by Imamali Rakhmonov's supporters. The Democratic Party sought to participate in the election, but the Islamic Renaissance Party called on its supporters to boycott it.

Two probable prisoners of conscience were released in November in an exchange of prisoners between the government and the armed opposition. Dzhumaboy Niyazov and Nuriddin Sadridinnov had been convicted in 1993 of illegal firearms possession (see Amnesty International Report 1994, where Sadridinnov's name is given incorrectly as Sadiriddinov). Also released by the government in the exchange were political prisoners Mirbobo Mirrakhimov, Akhmadsho Kamilov, Khayriddin Kasymov and Khurshed Nazarov (see Amnesty International Report 1994). The prisoners released by the opposition were captured government soldiers. In total, 27 prisoners were released by each side.

Journalists Maksud Khusaynov and Mukhammadrakhim Saydar were detained in August after state security agents searched their homes and discovered copies of an opposition newspaper published outside Tadzhikistan. They were prisoners of conscience. They were released from custody within days of being detained.

The body of Mirzonazar Imomnazarov, a Pamiri man who "disappeared" in December 1992, was found in a Dushanbe suburb in January. According to reports he had been killed recently, suggesting that he had been held in unacknowledged detention for over 13 months. The authorities began an investigation into his death.

Political prisoner Adzhik Aliyev was executed in September. He had been sentenced to death in 1993 after a trial which may have been unfair (see Amnesty International Report 1994). Six men were known to have been sentenced to death in 1994. At the end of the year the fate of these men and of five others sentenced to death in 1993 could not be confirmed.

Opposition forces reportedly killed some of a group of more than 50 government soldiers they captured in July near Tavildara, close to the Afghanistan border. It was not clear in what circumstances these killings occurred.

Amnesty International welcomed the news of the release of Dzhumaboy Niyazov and Nuriddin Sadridinnov, having previously called for a judicial review of their criminal convictions. It called for the immediate and unconditional release of Maksud Khusaynov and Mukhammadrakhim Saydar. It continued to call on the government to investigate reports of extrajudicial executions and "disappearances" dating from 1992 and 1993, and asked to be kept informed of the findings of investigations announced by the government. It called for a review of the case of Adzhik Aliyev on the grounds that he may not have received a fair trial. It urged commutation of all pending death sentences.

In July Amnesty International expressed concern about the fate of government soldiers captured near Tavildara, following reports that some of the soldiers had been killed. It called on the self-proclaimed "government-in-exile" to ensure that its armed forces, or those acting with its approval, fully respected human rights and the basic humanitarian standards set out in the Geneva Conventions and other relevant international standards.

In April Amnesty International sought official permission to visit Tadzhikistan. No response was received to its request.

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