In its response to Asia-Plus’s request, the Supreme Court press center said on March 7 that the prison term handed to businessman Abdukhalil Kholiqzoda, the author of the scandalous book, has been extended from 6½ years to nine years.  The additional sentence was reportedly handed to him on February 28 on a charge of smuggling (Article 289 (2) of Tajikistan’s Penal Code - smuggling).  The court reportedly also ordered Kholiqzoda to pay a fine of 76,800 somonis (1,200 calculating indicators; current calculating indicator is equal to 72.00 somonis).

Recall, the Supreme Court on February 22 sentenced Abdukhalil Kholiqzoda, the author of the scandalous book, titled “Events of My Life”, and Tajik writer Abduqodir Rustam, who edited the book to 6½ and 4½ years, respectively.

As far as the director of the Er-Graph publishing house Suhrob Rajabzoda is concerned (the book was printed in this publishing house), he was sentenced to one year in prison (Article 295 (1) of Tajikistan’s Penal Code -- abuse of authorities by clerks of commercial or other organizations) on the same day.  

Recall, the trial began at the pretrial detention facility in Dushanbe behind closed doors on January 19 this year.  

Prosecutor-General Yusuf Rahmon told reporters in Dushanbe on August 14 last year that he had ordered the arrest of Abdukhalil Kholiqzoda.

Rahmon explained that the arrest had been triggered by the contents of “Events of My Life”, written by Kholiqzoda and published in March last year.

The Tajik chief prosecutor accused Kholiqzoda of seeking to sow hatred among residents of Tajikistan’s regions.

As suggested in the book title, Abdukhalil Kholiqzoda, who is best known in Tajikistan as the founder of the Ibni Sino private medical clinic, shares stories from his career.

Eurasianet reported on September 8 last year that elsewhere, the author drifts into highly subjective commentaries, in part about the mindset of Tajiks from various parts of the country.  He reportedly reserves special criticism for inhabitants of the south, “where much of the current ruling elite come from, for what he perceives as their lack of refinement.”

Kholiqzoda reportedly has much to say about the economic climate in Tajikistan too.  According to Eurasianet, he bemoans the poor state of affairs for business, the lack of foreign investment and the woeful state of the healthcare sector.

He reportedly writes in his book of his sincere friendship with the heads of both the State Committee for National Security (SCNS) and the Interior Ministry, noting that some of the accounts he shares came from their own lips. 

Eurasianet notes that while the SCNS and the police get an easy ride in the book, the author has less kind things to say about prosecutors.  In one passage, he reportedly alleges that an intermediary acting on behalf of the mayor of Panjakent, a city in the northern province of Sughd, paid a large bribe to the General Prosecutor’s Office to get it to refrain from opening a criminal case against him.

What is particularly intriguing about this hazily substantiated accusation is that Kholiqzoda alleges that the cash was used to fund a lavish wedding.

Abdukhalil Kholiqzoda was detained on August 7 and the well-known writer Abduqodir Rustam, who has edited the scandalous book, was detained in late August.

Eurasianet says people familiar with the investigation have said it is believed Abduqodir Rustam was the person responsible for including the claim about the Panjakent bribe.

In August, the authorities withdrew the entire circulation of the book from all bookstores.