Agreements between representatives of protest rally in Khorog, the capital of the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO), and GBAO authorities are being implemented partially.  Against the backdrop of abundant information from the population, the GBAO authorities refrain from giving comments and even if they say something, it causes bewilderment.  

Sources from Khorog say the authorities do not fulfill two important agreements reached between them and protesters: dismantling military checkpoints and restoring Internet.  

It is already ninth day that Internet is inaccessible in the region.  The authorities have promised to restore access to Internet in the region by 1:00 pm of November 30, but have not restored it yet. 

On December 1, access to Internet was restored partially; currently, only banks and some government bodies have access to Internet in the GBAO     

Protests in different parts of Tajikistan usually lead to internet restrictions. Recent incident in Khorog, the capital of the GBAO, has left citizens unable to access online content.

Access to Internet was cut off in the GBAO on November 25 after several thousand people occupied a central square in Khorog in a demand for justice and thorough investigation in the killing of a local young man by security officers. The protesters put forward the following demands: 1) to investigate the case of the killing of Gulbiddin Ziyobekov and the case of those who shot at peaceful peal people as soon as possible; 2) to withdraw 60-70 percent of servicemen that were brought to Khorog and replace them with residents of the region; 3) to remove roadblocks in Khorog; 4) to replace GBAO governor; and 5) to restore internet connection.

Asia-Plus failed to get any comments on the Internet situation from the GBAO authorities and the country’s communications service agency.   

Recall, an appeal of the GBAO residents to President Emomali Rahmon was posted on Facebook in late November with a request to dismiss acting GBAO Governor Alisher Mirzonabot and Khorog Mayor Rizo Nazarzoda because “they are an irritating factor for the population that may lead to a recurrence of the conflict.”    

Meanwhile Pamir Daily News says a meeting of the chief of the State Committee for National Security (SCNS) Saymumin Yatimov on December 1 met with regional administrators in Khorog on December 1.  During the meeting, a video was reportedly demonstrated showing an unknown person kicking a man in uniform.  Yatimov said that it was Gulbiddin Ziyobekov, “who was a criminal and was punished.” 

The website says the meeting participants reacted to Yatimov’s words with obvious disapproval.  One of them said, “Even if he [Gulbiddin] committed a crime, no one has the right to kill a person.” 

Recall, seven members of Group 44, which had been set up from among the protesters to monitor the implementation of agreements reached between the protesters and the authorities, joined the investigation team, which is investigating the circumstances of the death of the resident of Roshtqala district Gulbiddin Ziyobekov.  The military prosecutor’s office is investigating the case.  

According to our sources from among members of the investigation group, there is already a forensic report that they are not yet able to provide, but they noted that “9 bullet wounds were found on the body of the deceased, including wounds into the head and into the heart.”

At the same time, the sources denied rumors that witnesses are forced to testify that Ziyobekov had a weapon with him. 

Recall, the incident took place on the morning of November 25.  The GBAO prosecutor’s office confirmed that in the village of Tavdem in GBAO’s Roshtqala district, an operation was carried out by law enforcement agencies to capture Gulbiddin Ziyobekov, who was wanted on charges of taking hostages and inciting ethnic hatred.  “During the operation, he put up armed resistance and began firing from a Makarov pistol, which he possessed illegally.  The offender was wounded by return fire,” says a statement released by the GBAO prosecutor’s office.

Some eyewitnesses of the events claim that Gulbiddin Ziyobekov was shot in the head and died on the way from Roshtqala to Khorog.

According to one of the residents of the Roshtqala district, Ziyobekov and other young guys beat the prosecutor’s office officer Abirzoda for offering an intimate relationship to a local young woman, forcing him to issue an apology to camera.

The investigation was halted at the instigation of then-GBAO governor Yodgor Fayzov, who mediated a way out of the impasse.  Fayzov was removed from the post earlier this month.  His dismissal appears to have triggered a renewed effort to arrest Ziyobekov.

Several thousand people occupied a central square in Khorog on November 25 in a demand for justice.  The four-day rally ended in the afternoon of November 28 afternoon after several hours of negotiations between the government officials and representatives of the protesters.