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Late Tajik Minister's Group Charged With Plotting Breakout

Mirzo Ziyoev, seen here in 1998, was a government minister and commander of the United Opposition Forces.
DUSHANBE -- A criminal case has been opened against 49 associates of late Tajik Emergency Situations Minister Mirzo Ziyoev, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Prosecutor-General Bobojon Bobokhonov told RFE/RL today that an investigation by the National Security Committee has shown that Ziyoev and 49 others were plotting an armed operation to release some of their supporters from jail.

He added that the accused include 11 militants with Russian and Uzbek citizenship.

Bokokhonov added that eight of the group members were affiliated with the banned Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

No further details of the criminal case are available.

Ziyoev -- also known as Mirzo Jaga -- was one of the top military commanders of the United Tajik Opposition during the 1992-97 civil war.

He was shot dead on July 11 during a special security operation in the eastern Tavil-Dara district.

Tajik officials said he was killed in an ambush by his own supporters, an explanation that they reject.