In a report released at a  news conference in Dushanbe, the Interior Minister Ramazon Rahimzoda noted on February 2 that investigation into criminal proceedings instituted against a number of residents of the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO) has been completed and the cases moved to a court.

The minister did not say against whom the criminal proceedings had been instituted and what they are charged with.         

As far as Habib Mahmadov, a police officer with Roshtqala police station who started the Roshtqala incident, is concerned, Rahimzoda said that he had been demoted but no criminal proceedings had been instituted against him. 

“After the incident that occurred, we have transferred this police officer [Habib Mahmadov] from the Roshtqala police station and demoted him.  But no criminal proceedings have been instituted against him.  We have not received any information that this officer was involved in the incident in the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO).  Prosecutors are continuing investigation into the incident and if Mahmadov was involved in the incident, the investigative group will take measures against him,” the minister said.  

As it had been reported earlier, the four-day demonstrations that took place in GBAO’s capital of Khorog in November last year killed three people and injured at least 17 others.  The protests in Khorog broke out on November 25 after security forces killed a 29-yearold local man Gulbiddin Ziyobekov wanted on charges of kidnapping.  The rally participants demanded a probe into his death.

The story that occurred in November 2021 has roots in an incident that took place in February 2020, when a group of people from GBAO’s Roshtqala district, which included Gulbiddin Ziyobekov, confronted and allegedly assaulted a prosecutor assistant they said had harassed a local young woman, forcing him to issue an apology to camera.

Ziyobekov was subsequently named as the object of a criminal investigation.  His arrest was avoided following negotiations mediated by the then-governor of the GBAO, Yodgor Faizov, who was removed from his post in November 2021.

Habib Mahmadov first came to light in December last year, when Yodgor Faizov said on December 9, 2021 in his interview that the girl (Zuhro Shonazarova) who first made the harassment claims asked the police officer Habib Mahmadov to help her secure a new passport under an assumed name.  Her motivation was said to be that she had been deported from Russia and was consequently unable to re-enter that country under her real name.  Mahmadov demanded 300 somonis and a goat in payment for the favor and promised to resolve the issue through the prosecutor assistant.

The Interior Minister noted that the Prosecutor-General’s Office was continuing investigation into the November events in GBAO.