A notorious Islamic State recruiter who has been linked to terrorist attacks in Sweden, Russia, and Tajikistan, has gone missing from a prison in northern Syria, according to people with knowledge of his detention.
Parviz Saidrahmonov, 33, hasn’t been seen in the prison in the Syrian town of Afrin for more than a month, according to one Tajik woman, who said she shared a cell with Saidrahmonov’s wife, who was also being held in the same prison.
The woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Saidrahmonov had previously been allowed to meet his wife twice a month.
“There are rumors here that Saidrahmonov has escaped from the jail, but I don’t know for sure,” the woman told RFE/RL by phone on June 15.
The woman is being held in custody along with other people with alleged links to Islamic State militants,
Another Tajik woman, who lives at the Al-Hawl refugee camp in Syria, told RFE/RL that Saidrahmonov called her “out of the blue” in early June, asking after one of his family members.
“He refused to tell me where he was and just said that everything was fine,” the woman said on June 15.
RFE/RL could not independently verify the claims.
Saidrahmonov, also known as Abu Daoud, was among several key Islamic State figures from Tajikistan that Dushanbe wants extradited from Syria and Iraq.
He’s been linked to several attacks and terrorist plots in several countries, including the 2017 truck attack in Sweden that killed five people.
A law enforcement official in Dushanbe said Tajik authorities are aware of the claims about Saidrahmonov’s alleged disappearance from the Afrin prison, which currently is controlled by the Turkish forces.
According to the official, Tajik authorities have formally asked the prison officials for information but haven’t yet received any response. The official spoke in condition of anonymity as he wasn’t authorized to speak to media.
In late January, the Prosecutor-General’s Office announced that it was “completing paperwork to repatriate Saidrahmonov” and that it hoped to bring him “back to Tajikistan in the coming days.”
The efforts, however, were halted with the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Swedish investigators say Saidrahmonov was an accomplice of Rakhmat Akilov, an Uzbek man who drove a hijacked truck down a busy pedestrian street in Stockholm on April 7, 2017, killing five people and injuring 10 others.
Akilov was sentenced to life in prison in June 2018.
Tajik Islamic State Recruiter Reportedly 'Goes Missing' From Syrian Prison