Not only inmates but also representatives of administration of the Khujand-based penal colony 3/3 are standing trial for November fatal prison riot.

Tajik chief prosecutor Yusuf Rahmon made this remark on March 29 while addressing a session of the Majlisi Milli (Tajikistan’s upper chamber of parliament).

According to him, thirty-three inmates are in the dock.  “Besides, nine employees of the Khujand penal colony, including the penal colony head, are also standing trial.  Criminal proceedings have been instituted against them under the provisions of Article 322 (2) – criminal negligence causing death or serious bodily harm,” the prosecutor-general said.  

The trial is being in Khujand behind closed doors because the cases have been classified as “top secret

Recall, 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 raised 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.

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

Meanwhile, the Tajik authorities issued no public statements on the incident for more than two weeks after the violence.   

Tajikistan authorities made the first comments on the Khujand prison riot only on November 22.

Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin told reporters in Brussels on November 22 that 21 inmates were killed during the incident.  He said that “12 of the rioters had fought in Syria and Iraq alongside Islamic State (IS) militants” and that three others were in prison after convictions for membership in other, unspecified, extremist groups.

Muhriddin also said that two other inmates were killed “while trying to help prison guards,” but provided no further explanation of that comment.  Muhriddin also stated that two prison guards were killed and five others wounded.

Six prison officers, including a department chief, had reportedly been arrested on negligence charges.  The arrests come amid mounting discussion regarding prison conditions.