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Tajik Factory Chief Accused Of Spying For Uzbekistan


KHUJAND, Tajikistan -- The chief of Tajikistan's Vostokredmet uranium-reprocessing plant has been arrested and accused of spying for Uzbekistan, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Shavkat Bobojonov was detained on July 22.

Spying accusations are not unusual in Tajikistan. In May, three high-level Vostokredmet officials were arrested and charged with espionage.

In April, Tajikistan charged Muhammad Salimzoda, a retired officer and former Kyrgyz Defense Ministry official, of spying for Kyrgyzstan. He was convicted and was sentenced to life in prison.

Salimzoda, an ethnic Tajik, reportedly lived in Tajikistan until 1991 and worked on the National Security Committee of Tajikistan.

The Tajik government includes the Vostokredmet uranium-reprocessing plant, located in the northwestern town of Chkalovsk, near Khujand, on its list of strategic facilities.

It produced yellowcake for the Soviet nuclear and defense industries but it lost that capability when Moscow transferred all sensitive equipment at the plant to Russia before the breakup of the Soviet Union.
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