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Russia Refuses To Extradite Tajik Businessman

Russian authorities have extended by six months the detention of a Tajik businessman accused of serious crimes in Tajikistan and who is seeking asylum in Russia, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Abdusami Dodoboev, the head of the international relations department at the Tajik Prosecutor-General's Office, told RFE/RL that Russian officials have told Tajikistan they will not extradite Nizomkhon Juraev to Tajikistan until Russia's Federal Migration Service rules on his asylum request.

Juraev was detained by Moscow police in August after three years of evading arrest.

Juraev, the former owner of a chemical plant and a distillery in the town of Isfara in Sughd Province, was also a member of the provincial parliament.

The Tajik government launched an investigation into the financial activities of Juraev and his partners from 1998 to 2007 and found it was claimed that Juraev and members of a criminal group he allegedly established had embezzled money, evaded taxes, forged documents, bribed officials, and intimidated people in order to acquire property and business assets.

Investigators said he was also responsible for the assassination of Deputy Prosecutor-General Tolib Boboev in 1999.

Juraev's brothers, Tolib and Fakhriddin, were among 31 family members and associates arrested and tried in 2009. His brothers are now serving prison sentences for alleged involvement in Boboev's assassination.

The so-called Isfara Case ended in June 2009 with 29 people receiving sentences of 10 to 25 years in jail. The defendants were tried as members of an organized crime group -- meaning that those implicated in financial crimes were tried with those accused of murder -- and sentenced accordingly.

Relatives of the convicted have complained about what they say are harsh sentences for Juraev's associates and other family members.

Read more in Tajik here