DUSHANBE, September 23, Asia-Plus — The trial of Aslan Usmonov, who is suspected of being involved in killing of known Tajik culture figure and journalists Muhiddin Olimpour, began in the Supreme Court today.

Proceedings started with the reading of the indictment, which charges Usmonov with participation in criminal grouping and murder complicity.   

As it had been reported earlier, a 28-year-old resident of the Vahdat district Aslan Usmonov was detained in August 2007.  The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said that during the country’s civil war in the country, Usmonov was member of an illegal armed formation of Nozim Yunusov, who was also known as “Eshoni Nozim.” 

According to a MoI, on December 12, 1995, by ringleader’s order Aslan Usmonov together with other members of this criminal grouping Akhtam Toirov, Nasrullo Sharipov and Murtazo Homidov came by car to the bus stop near the house of Olimpour, they put him by force into the car and took away.  The same day Muhiddin Olimpour was found dead near campus of Tajik National University.

We will recall that Muhiddin Olimpour, head of the BBC’s Persian Service bureau in Dushanbe and known Tajik culture figure, was found dead near campus of Tajik National University with a gunshot wound to the head in December 1995.

On July 29, 2003, Tajikistan''s Supreme Court convicted two suspects in the murders of Muhiddin Olimpour and Viktor Nikulin, a correspondent with the Russian television network ORT, who was also killed during the country''s civil war in the mid-1990s.

Narzibek Davlatov and Akhtam Toirov were sentenced to 15 and 22 years in prison, respectively, for serving as accomplices in the slayings.  The two men were arrested in October 2001, and their trial began in June 2003.

The convictions come a week after a Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) delegation traveled to Tajikistan and called on the government to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the murders of dozens of journalists during the country''s 1992-1997 civil war.

According to the National Association of Independent Media of Tajikistan (Nansmit), 73 journalists