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Tajikistan’s Fallen Hero: Umed Nurmamadov

You are not Forgotten

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The Ismaili Pamiris of Tajikistan are a tiny minority group in Central Asia, whose ancient homeland lies in the remote and forbidding mountains that straddle the borders of Afghanistan, China, and Russia. Despite their small numbers, they have long been targeted for persecution by the authoritarian government of Tajikistan. In recent years, this has escalated into a full-blown campaign of ethnic cleansing, with President Imomali Rahmon seeking to eradicate this community and replace them with ethnic Tajiks. The Pamiris reside in the Gorno-Badakhshan region (GBAO), which became a warzone in May 2022. Government security forces had swept through Vanj, indiscriminately killing, torturing, and jailing Pamiris whom they accused of committing “terrorist acts”. Umed Nurmamadov was one Pamiri who fell victim to this brutal onslaught.

Umed was from the village of Vamar in Rushan, Tajikistan. A single man, he worked as an electrician.

According to the reports, Umed did not participate in the public protests in Vamar on May 17-18, 2022. He was assisting and rendered support to the nurses and took the injured to the hospital. He was then arrested by the security forces and taken to the police office. There, Umed was beaten severely. He was last seen alive on May 18, 2022. The authorities instead announced that Umed to have “disappeared”.

On June 1, 2022, his relatives identified his corpse on a photo. His nose was broken, an eye was swollen, there were no teeth left in his mouth and his body was full of hematomas and bruises. As his face was beyond recognizable, he had to be identified by his scar wound of an appendicectomy that he did earlier. His corpse had mistakenly been given to another family and reported to be buried in Rushan.