Investigation into case of the case stand-up comedian Khairullo is expected to be completed in early February.

“Investigation into the case of Khairullo Mirsaidov is expected to be completed on February 5 but if the prosecutor’s office deems it necessary, the investigation will be extended for two months or even more,” Ms. Gulchehra Ghoibnazrova, a senior aide to the Sughd chief prosecutor, told Asia-Plus in an interview.

According to her, prosecutors are currently examining financial reports submitted by Khairullo Mirsaidov over the past three years.

“The Sughd prosecutor’s office had earlier charged Khairullo Mirsaidov with embezzlement of 300,000 somoni but the exact figure will become known only upon completion of the examination of the reports,” Ms. Ghoibnazarova noted.  

Meanwhile, the Sughd chief prosecutor Habibullo Vohidov told reporters in Khujand on January 26 that Mirsaidov’s case has not been classified as “secret.”

He promised that the Sughd prosecutor’s office would give all details the case upon completion of the investigation.  

Khairullo Mirsaidov was put under custody on December 5 and charges of misappropriate of state funds (Article 245, Part 4 of Tajikistan’s Penal Code), inciting national racial, regional or religious enmity (Article 189, Part 2), document forgery (Article 340, Part 1) and false denunciation (Article 346, Part 2) were officially brought against him on December 8.   

The charges brought against Mirsaidov carry up to a total of 21 years in prison under Tajikistan’s Penal Code.

Khairullo Mirsaidov in November last year applied to the President of Tajikistan, Prosecutor-General Yusuf Rahmon and Sughd Governor Abdurahmon Qodiri, asking them to pay attention to problems facing the Khujand-based KVN team because of some corrupt officials in the Sughd province.  Mirsaidov publicly stated that Olim Zohidzoda, the head of the Sughd directorate for youth and sports affairs, demanded a US$1,000 bribe.

Mirsaidov failed to produce evidence to support his application against Zohidzoda.  Zohidzoda has filed a counterclaim against Mirsaidov accusing him of defamation. 

The journalist's father, Habibullo Mirsaidov, says his son denies the charges brought against him.

Mirsaidov is an independent journalist and a former correspondent of the Dushanbe-based Asia-Plus news agency and Germany's Deutsche Welle radio.

He is also the leader of the Tajik national KVN comedy team, a stand-up comedy competition which originated among university students in the Soviet Union and is still popular in many post-Soviet states.

Mirsaidov’s case has drawn international attention, with the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) releasing a statement in December calling on Tajikistan to release Mirsaidov and drop all charges against him.

Amnesty International (AI) on January 25 urged the Tajik authorities to “immediately” release Khairullo Mirsaidov, who has been in pretrial detention for more than a month.  Amnesty International said in its statement that “Khairullo Mirsaidov is a prisoner of conscience who is being punished solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression.”