The Khatlon chief prosecutor’s office has expressed disagreement with the Bokhtar city court's decision to reduce the prison term Yusuf (Jourabek) Solehov, a former bodyguard of one of former field commander of the former pro-government Popular Front Khouja Karimov (better known as Commander Khouja), from 12 to 8 years, Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service, known locally as Radio Ozodi, reported on March 11.  

As it had been reported earlier, the Bokhtar city court sentenced Solehov to 12 years in prison last month for crimes committed in the country during the civil war (1992-1997).  The sentenced followed his conviction under Article 104 (2) of Tajikistan’s Penal Code -- murder of two or more people.  

However, the court decision states that the verdict took into account the general amnesty that was declared in Tajikistan in 1998 and Solehov’s jail term was reduced from 12 to 8 years, according to Radio Ozodi.  

Khatlon chief prosecutor Avaz Nazarov has asked the Supreme Court to review the Bokhtar city court’s verdict and to sentence Solehov to a longer prison term.

Radio Ozodi says the prosecutor called the imposed term too mild and inconsistent with the crime committed. 

Yusuf (Jourabek) Solehov; photo / Radio Ozodi.

Recall, a court in the city of Bokhtar, the capital of Khatlon province, sentenced Solehov to 12 years in prison on February 23.  He was found guilty of participating together with ten other militants of the Population Front in killing 22 (twenty-two) members of one family in Ghozimalik (currently Khuroson) district in Khatlon province. 

A prosecutor in the trial of Solehov reportedly asked the Bokhtar city court to sentence him to a 15-year prison term.

Relatives of the victims considered the sentence lenient and demanded its revision, according to Radio Ozodi.

Solehov was reportedly detained in the Russian Federation in July last year and was extradited to Tajikistan at the request of the Prosecutor-General’s Office of Tajikistan to prosecute for the murder of 22 people, including a pregnant woman. 

The investigation established that on October 14, 1992, acting by prior agreement, Solehov together with his accomplices burst into house in Sarband village for the purpose of stealing property.  He reportedly shot members of the family and their relatives, doused the bodies with gasoline and set them on fire, says a statement released by the Prosecutor-General’s Office.     

Two of the victims, including an 11-year-old boy, managed to survive.  Solehov subsequently left Tajikistan for Russia and hid from justice there for a long time. 

In March 2022, the Bokhtar city court put Solehov on the wanted list.  After his arrest in Russia, the Prosecutor-General’s Office of Russia satisfied the request of the Prosecutor-General's Office of Tajikistan for his extradition.  

Khouja Karimov himself was sentenced to 21 years in prison.  At first, he was sentenced to 14 years in prison in March 2021.  The sentence followed his conviction on charges of banditry, murders, hostage taking, tortures, and illegal possession of weapons.

In February 2022, seven additional years were added to Karimov’s jail term following new charges brought against him after more than 15 people accused him of hostage taking, banditry and murders.  Commander Khouja is notorious for reported cruelty during the civil conflict.