DUSHANBE, September 1, 2009, Asia-Plus -- Mr. Stephan Samaran, Defense Attaché at the French Embassy in Dushanbe denies three servicemen of the French Air Force contingent deployed at the Dushanbe airport beat the “Argili” Restaurant director.

In a message sent to the news agency Asia-Plus Monday afternoon, Mr. Samaran says the facts show that the servicemen paid for all they took and they were pursued by the restaurant employees numbering some ten people, who were armed with bottle fragments and shouting racial insults at the servicemen.  “Pursuers began throwing bricks at the servicemen and the last had to protect themselves and seek protection from police officers who were on duty in the Dusti Square,” Mr. Samaran said.

“It remains to regret that Yusupov received injuries, however, three French servicemen were victims of the incident,” the message said.

We will recall that the source at the Ministry of Interior (MoI) told Asia-Plus on August 31 that on August 30, the police department at Dushanbe’s Ismoili Somoni district received application from Ikrom Yusupov, the director of the Argili Restaurant, in which he noted that on the night of August 28-29, three French servicemen allegedly quarreled with the restaurant employees and did not want to pay for the services. “According to the application, the restaurant director had to interfere and asked the French servicemen to pay; however, they beat him.  Ikrom Yusupov received various injuries and was taken to the National Medical Center (formerly Republican Clinical Hospital # 3),” the source said.

According to the French Embassy, under a government-to-government agreement singed between Tajikistan and France in 2001 servicemen of the French Air Force contingent deployed at the Dushanbe airport are given the same status as technical personnel of the French Embassy and therefore, they pose the right of diplomatic immunity.