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Tajikistan: Interior Ministry Official Sentenced To 25 Years

Dushanbe, 8 October 2002 (RFE/RL) -- A senior Tajik Interior Ministry official has been sentenced to 25 years' imprisonment on charges of murder, racketeering, and extortion. Safarali Chalishev, the former head of the Interior Ministry's department for battling organized crime, was found guilty late yesterday of committing two murders and running a racket that produced fake identity papers and university diplomas, as well as being involved in extortion.

The prosecutor had asked for the death penalty, alleging Chalishev was involved in more than 20 murders.

Chalishev is the latest Tajik official to be imprisoned for ties to criminal organizations. Former Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Kim was sentenced to 13 years in jail for drug trafficking earlier this year.