DUSHANBE, April 19, 2011, Asia-Plus -- Tajik national Fakhriddin Kokulov, 31, who escaped from the pretrial detention facility run by the State Committee for national Security (SCNS) in Dushanbe last August has been killed in a gun battle with Tajik security forces, a source at one of Tajik law enforcement agencies told Asia-Plus on Tuesday afternoon.

Kokulov was one of 25 detainees who escaped from the SCNS-run detention facility on August 23, 2010.  He was convicted on charges of organization of criminal group (Article 187 (2, 5) of Tajikistan’s Penal Code) and illegal border crossing (Article 335 (2) of Tajikistan’s Penal Code).

The source says Fakhriddin Kokulov refuse to surrender on April 18 in the Rasht Valley and was killed while resisting arrest.

Of the 25 escaped inmates, four have been killed and twelve more recaptured, mostly in Dushanbe suburbs, eastern Tajikistan and Afghanistan.  In Afghanistan, five of the escapees -- three of whom were Afghans -- were detained at the end of last year but Kabul decided to try Afghan nationals in their homeland.

Government forces continue to hunt for the other nine fugitives.

We will recall that 25 convicts serving long jail terms escaped from the SCNS-run detention facility in Dushanbe in the early hours of morning of August 23 2010, killing three prison guards.  Dressing in camouflage, the escapees fled toward eastern Tajikistan.  The majority of the fugitives were among 46 people convicted by the Supreme Court on August 19, 2010 of terrorism, drug trafficking, and seeking the forcible overthrow of the government.  The escaped prisoners include six Russian citizens, four Afghans, and two Uzbeks.  Most were accused of participating in the 2009 armed rebellion in Tavildara.

In the meantime, the trial over the last year’s high-profile jailbreak is going on in the Supreme Court in Dushanbe.  Seven Tajiks and two Russian citizens are standing the trial.  Among them are three jailbreak masterminds – Ibrohim Nasreddinov, 36, Hikmatullo Azizov, 36 and Russian citizen Magomed Akhmedov, 32.  The trial also includes other defendants who are alleged to be members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and a man, Sayriddin Azizov, who is accused of helping the escapees evade capture.

The trial, which being held by the Supreme Court’s military board behind closed doors, began on April 1.