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Tajik Doctors Detained On Suspicion Of Treating Militants

DUSHANBE -- Tajik officials have confirmed the detention of two doctors from a clinic in the eastern Rasht district who are suspected of aiding alleged terrorists, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Interior Ministry spokesman Mahmadullo Asadulloev told RFE/RL on February 17 that during the investigation into the fighting in Rasht last fall between Islamic militants and Tajik security forces, it became clear that doctors Abdullo Vazirov and Muhammadkholiq Sodiqov had connections to an "organized criminal group" under the command of Alovuddin Davlatov (aka Ali Bedaki).

Asadulloev said the Military Prosecutor's Office has opened a criminal case against the doctors. Military Prosecutor Khayrullo Saidov confirmed the two men have been detained, but did not give further details.

Olim Odilov, a former opposition fighter from Rasht, told RFE/RL that both doctors are well-known but he does not know why they were detained.

Reports say Vazirov and Sodiqov are accused of keeping silent about having provided medical treatment to suspected terrorists.

Lawyer Abduqayyum Yusufov told RFE/RL that according to the law, doctors must inform the authorities about all treatment related to gunshot wounds, car accidents, etc. He added that if the doctors treated Bedaki for gunshot wounds and failed to inform the authorities they had done so, they committed a crime.

On January 4, the Interior Ministry announced that Davlatov and seven of his fighters had been killed, with one captured alive. The ministry said the militants were hiding in a shed when they were attacked and refused to surrender.

But a short video clip posted later on YouTube showed uniformed men questioning Bedaki. The video showed the bearded man identified as Bedaki sitting in the back seat of a car and being held by men in combat fatigues. One man questions him, addressing him as Ali Bedaki, while a second keeps a gun trained on him.

The unidentified interrogator asks him about the September attack on a military convoy in the Kamarob Valley in Rasht that left 28 soldiers dead. He also asks the detainee about surgery on his fingers and named Vazirov as the surgeon suspected of performing that operation.

The authorities believe Bedaki and Abdullo Rahimov, nicknamed Mullo Abdullo, organized the deadly Rasht attack.

Read more in Tajik here