DUSHANBE, July 12, Asia-Plus — The Prosecutor-General’s Office does not have information about detention of 15 supporters of Colonel Mahmoud Khudoiberdiyev on the Tajik-Uzbek border, Tajik chief prosecutor Bobojon Bobokhonov remarked at a news conference in Dushanbe on July 13.   

We will recall that some media referring to unofficial sources have released report that Tajik security authorities had allegedly detained a group of supporters of the rebellious colonel on the Tajik-Uzbek border.

“If they had been detained by Tajik law enforcement agencies, the last would had informed the Prosecutor-General’s Office of this without fail,” Bobokhonov said, noting that the Prosecutor-General’s Office has repeatedly applied to Uzbek authorities requesting for extradition of Mahmoud Khudoiberdiyev and his supporters. 

“However, these requests have remained unsatisfied,” the chief prosecutor said. 

Colonel Mahmoud Khudoiberdiyev, who masterminded two coup attempts in the 1990s, is believed to be based in Uzbekistan now.  

Asked about the fight against tortures, the chief prosecutor said that some 100 officers from the law enforcement agencies are annually made answerable for using illicit methods of work.  Since the beginning of this year, nearly 50 officers from the law enforcement agencies have been made answerable for using such methods, according to Bobokhonov.  He noted that when he said illicit methods he meant not only tortures using to obtain confess but also crimes related to abuse of office.  

“The Prosecutor-General’s Office will toughen efforts to fight this evil,” Tajik chief prosecutor said.  

Speaking to journalists, Bobokhonov also commented on issues related to the possibility of extradition of ex-director of Tajik aluminum plant (TadAZ) Abduqodir Ermatov and litigations, involving TadAZ, UC RUSAL, Hummer and Ansol, heard in London.  “All rulings handed down at the High Court in London have been in favor of TadAZ,” the chief prosecutor stressed, expressing confidence that sooner or later, all persons having caused serious economic damage to Tajikistan will stand trial for that.  

On the ongoing amnesty, Bobokhonov noted that some 1,400 people have to date been amnestied.  “1,200 prison inmates, including 365 women, have been released,” the chief prosecutor said.  

Asked about the possibility of handing over the right of issuing arrest warrant to courts, Bobokhonov said that the Prosecutor-General’s Office comes out against that because courts they are frequently making infringements.  

At request of journalists, representatives from the Prosecutor-General’s Office named parties, organizations and movements that are officially banned in Tajikistan as terrorist.  The list includes the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), Al-Qaeda, Lashkari Toyib, Tojikistoni Ozod (Free Tajikistan), etc.  At the same time, the outlawed religious Hizb ut-Tahrir organization was not named among them.

“Members of Hizb ut-Tahrir have not committed any serious crimes, they have not killed anybody and not committed terrorist acts, therefore, we don’t consider it to be the terrorist organization,” said the chief prosecutor, “Its members are engaged in propagating their ideas, and therefore, we consider it to be not terrorist but extremist organization.”  Over the first six months of 2007, 14 criminal proceedings have been instituted against supporters of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Tajikistan.  

We will recall that speaking to journalists on January 15, 2007, Tajik chief prosecutor said Tajikistan’s Supreme Court had banned 10 organizations as extremist on the basis of a suit filed by the Prosecutor-General’s Office.  He noted that the list included the Islamic Party of Turkestan, Harakati Tablighot, Jamiati Tablighot, Al-Qaeda, Sozmoni Tabligh and Tojikistoni Ozod.  Bobokhonov described Tojikistoni Ozod as an organization set up by ‘antigovernment forces’ in Uzbekistan in 1998.

Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and Bayat have been banned in Tajikistan since 2000.