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Tajik Prosecutor General Sacks Public Prosecutors

Sherkhon Salimzoda

Sherkhon Salimzoda

DUSHANBE -- Tajikistan's new prosecutor-general has fired 13 public prosecutors in what he says is an effort to reform the prosecutor's office, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Sherkhon Salimzoda, who was chairman of Tajikistan's Anticorruption Agency before being named prosecutor-general in mid-February, said at a press conference in Dushanbe on April 12 that the sackings were necessary because "there were many deficiencies in the prosecutors' activities."

Salimzoda, 53, said three of those fired were accused of not preventing corruption in their offices. He said eight were found not to be applying property laws in their work and the other two were suspected of covering up crimes.

No criminal cases have yet been opened against the fired procurators.

President Emomali Rahmon named Salimzoda to replace Bobojon Bobokhonov, who had been a rival of Salimzoda when he headed the Anticorruption Agency.

Salimzoda added that human rights activist Nematullo Botakoziev, a Kyrgyz citizen, is not being detained in Tajikistan. Kyrgyzstan has asked that Botakoziev be extradited, but Salimzoda said Tajik authorities are asking for Kyrgyz officials to clarify their request and the charges against him.

Rights groups said Botakoziev was being held in detention in Tajikistan.

Salimzoda said if there is evidence that the Kyrgyz case against Botakoziev is political, Tajikistan will have to consider his request for asylum based on Tajik law.

Human Rights Watch and other international rights groups have urged Tajikistan not to send Botakoziev to Kyrgyzstan. He is wanted by Kyrgyz officials for organizing mass protests in 2008.

Tajikistan's ombudsman, Zarif Alizoda, said in March that the Norouz holiday had resulted in a delay in the investigation into Botakoziev's case.