Two jailed Tajik nationals who were transferred from Kyrgyzstan to Tajikistan last year were released on July 28, Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service, known locally as Radio Ozodi, reported on August 2. 

Abduroziq Abduqahhorov and Askar Yunusov have served their jail terms in a penal colony in Yovon district, Khatlon province and have been released after long appeals to various authorities.

Abduroziq Abduqahhorov and Askar Yunusov – both are nationals of Tajikistan - lived in the Kyrgyz village of Borobodduk until spring 2021. 

They were reportedly arrested shortly after the armed conflict that took place along the Tajik-Kyrgyz border on April 28-29, 2021. 

The court in Kyrgyzstan’s Batken region sentenced them to life imprisonment on September 14, 2021.  The court found them guilty under Articles 380 of the Criminal Code of the Kyrgyz Republic ("Crimes against Peace") and 391 of the Criminal Code of the Kyrgyz Republic ("Looting").

At the request of the Tajik Embassy in Bishkek and the convicts’ relatives, the Batken regional court in early December 2021 commuted their life sentence to 20 years in prison.     

Abduroziq is with his family; photo / Radio Ozodi

Six months later, Abduqahhorov and Yunusov were transferred from Kyrgyzstan to Tajikistan.  They were reportedly serving their jail terms in the penal colony in Khatlon’s Yovon district, when representatives of the Prosecutor-General’s Office came to the panel colony “and stated that by president’s decree their convictions have been expunged and they are exempted from further punishment.”   

Recall, two Tajik men -- Amonjon Bobojonov and Ayubjon Urunov -- were released from Kyrgyz custody in July 2022 after being held on charges of robbery and crossing the border illegally amid an ongoing border dispute.

Bobojonov and Urunov, along with another Tajik man, Akmaljon Isoyev, were sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison each in 2021 over their participation in exchanges of gunfire along a disputed segment of the border in the spring of 2021 that left 36 Kyrgyz and 19 Tajik citizens dead.  Isoyev, who was also found guilty of vandalism, remained in prison.

The reported release of them comes nearly three months after Tajik and Kyrgyz chief prosecutors agreed on the exchange of citizens detained for illegal border crossing.

Earlier in July last year, eleven Kyrgyz citizens were released from Tajik custody after spending months in prisons and detention centers there.

On June 3, 2022, a court in Kyrgyzstan’s Batken region released 11 Tajik citizens who had been held in Kyrgyzstan on the same charges.