In Khorog, police detained Muslim Sherzamonov, 56, the brother of Polish-based opposition leader Alim Sherzamonov, who is suspected of organizing and financing the May protests in Gorno-Badakhshan. About it informs “Morning.”
According to the authorities, Muslim Sherzamonov was detained during a “special operation” against the informal leaders of Gorno-Badakhshan, Khursand Mazorov and Zoir Radjabov. The last two were eventually killed.
Together with Muslim Sherzamonov, the security forces detained nine more people, whom they called “accomplices in the crime.”
“During a search from the apartment building of two of them: Imomnazar Shoishirinov, two Kalashnikov assault rifles with three magazines, 120 rounds of 7.62 mm caliber were found, and from Muslim Sherzamonov’s own apartment building – one Kalashnikov assault rifle with one magazine, 18 rounds of caliber 5, 45 mm and two F-1 grenades, which were legally seized and documented,” the interdepartmental headquarters said.
As oppositionist Alim Sherzamonov told the publication, his brother was not a member of any groups, and was not associated with the murdered Mazorov and Radjabov. According to him, Muslim’s only “fault” is that he is the brother of an opposition leader.
He said that his brother went for interrogation on the morning of June 12, but never returned. Instead, security forces arrived at their house in the Barkhorog microdistrict, who allegedly “found” two grenades there, as well as a machine gun with 18 rounds of ammunition.
“Will a person summoned for interrogation keep a machine gun at his house so that they come and find it? Especially after the murder of Bokir (the informal leader of Barkhorog), no one here even dares to think about weapons,” says Alim Sherzamonov.
On May 14, several hundred residents of Khorog protested and demanded the resignation of the head of the region Alisher Mirzonabot and the mayor of Khorog Rizo Nazarzoda, the removal of all checkpoints in Khorog and an end to the persecution of Badakhshan residents. In addition, the protesters insisted on bringing to justice those responsible for the death of Gulbiddin Ziebekov, the release of activist Amriddin Alovatshoev, MMA fighter Chorshanbe Chorshanbiev and other residents of the region detained after the November protests.
The protesters gave the authorities time to consider their demands until 16:00 on May 16. After the authorities of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region refused to consider the resignation of the head of the region and the mayor of Khorog, calling the demands of the protesters illegal, on May 16 a large group of local youth headed towards the regional administration. Near the town of Chinak, they were met by law enforcement officers of Tajikistan, who used rubber bullets and tear gas.
The authorities decided to regard the actions of the protesters as a “terrorist act.”
On May 18, Tajik security forces launched an “anti-terrorist operation” that killed more than 20 people. On May 22, the Ministry of Internal Affairs announced the murder of Mahmadbokir Mahmadbokirov during “internal clashes between criminal groups.” Later it became known about the liquidation of several more informal leaders of the region and their supporters.
Alim Sherzamonov was one of the leaders of the opposition Social Democratic Party of Tajikistan, but in 2017 he left for Poland, where he requested political asylum. In May, Tajik authorities accused Sherzamonov of organizing protests in Gorno-Badakhshan. Together with him, similar charges were brought against Makhmadbokir Makhmadbokirov, General Kholbash Kholbashev and his ex-wife, human rights activist Ulfathonim Mamadshoeva.