Veteran of Tajikistan’s security services, Davlatkhuja Nazirov, is convinced that the new head of the Main Penitentiary Directorate of the Ministry of Justice is able to establish order.

Lieutenant-General Mansourjon Umarov, who had previously served as deputy chief of the State Committee for National Security (SCNS), has been appointed to head the Main Penitentiary Directorate of the Ministry of Justice.  He had been the deputy chief of the SCNS since 2008   

He told Radio Ozodi on November 26 that will visit the Khujand-based high-security penal 3/3 that witnessed a deadly riot earlier this month within the next few days.  

Umarov noted that he wants to start his work as the head of the Main Penitentiary Directorate from getting acquainted with penitentiary institutions of the country and intends to visit high-security penal colony 3/3 located in Khujand.

Meanwhile, veteran of Tajikistan’s security services, Davlatkhuja Nazirov, told Asia-Plus today that he is convinced that Mansourjon Umarov is able to establish order in the country’s prison system.     

By president’s decree the 53-year-old Mansourjon Umarov was appointed as the head of the Main Penitentiary Directorate on November 23 replacing Izatullo Sharifzoda.

Sharifzoda, who had served as the head of Main Penitentiary Directorate for more than ten years, was reportedly retired for age reasons.  

The Main Penitentiary Directorate is responsible for managing the prison system in Tajikistan and has been part of the Ministry of Justice since 2002.  Its 19 penitentiary institutions include 13 correctional colonies (including one colony for women and one colony for juveniles), one prison and five pre-trial detention centers.  There are also five regional units responsible for the execution of non-custodial sanctions.

Recall, Tajikistan authorities made the first comments on a recent prison riot in the Tajik northern city of Khujand on November 22.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels after the EU-Tajikistan Cooperation Council meeting, Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin said 21 rioters were “neutralized” during the confrontation.  According to him, two inmates were killed while trying to help prison guards.  The rioters attacked prison guards, killing two officers and seriously wounding five others, Tajik top diplomat added. 

High-security penal colony 3/3 largely houses inmates convicted on charges related to terrorism, extremism, and other serious crimes.  Muhriddin said that 12 of the rioters had fought in Syria and Iraq alongside militants of the Islamic State (IS) terror group, while three were convicted for membership in other banned extremist groups. 

The riot broke out at a high-security penal colony 3/3 in the northern city of Khujand late on November 7.  According to some sources, several inmates convicted of religious extremism and terrorism organized the riot at the Khujand high-security penal colony.  They were reportedly armed with cold steels and one of them managed to disarm a guard, took his assault rifle and began shooting at guards and wardens. 

It is not clear what sparked the riot that was suppressed by riot police sent to the prison.

Amaq news agency, which is linked to the IS terror group, reported on November 8 that one of IS fighters “is responsible for the attack in Tajikistan that sparked a prison riot.”   

Seven prison officers, including the prison warden and a department chief, have reportedly been arrested in recent days.