A trial of persons involved in the brutal attack on a group of foreign cyclists in the Danghara district (Khatlon province) began in Dushanbe Tuesday morning.  Journalists were not allowed to attend the trial

The trial is taking place in the detention center of the Ministry of Justice in Dushanbe. The defendants’ relatives and representatives of the media gathered outside the detention facility.   

Although the criminal proceedings against them are being held in open court, journalists and the defendants’ relatives were not allowed to attend the trial.  Only, defense lawyers were allowed to enter the courtroom. 

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court leadership has ordered the Supreme Court press center to cover this trial as widely as possible  

I           In the brutal attack that took place in the Danghara district on July 29, a car rammed into the group of cyclists before multiple attackers emerged from the vehicle and stabbed survivors, killing two Americans, a Swiss, and a Dutch national.  Three other foreigners were injured in the attack before the assailants sped off.

Of the five men named as attackers, only one – Hussein Abdusamadov -- is still alive.  He was reportedly arrested early on July 30.  Officials said the other four, including brothers Jaffariddin Yusupov, 26, and Asliddin Yusupov, 21, as well as Asomiddin Majidov, 19, and Zafarjon Safarov, 19, were killed when police tried to apprehend them.

Government officials have blamed the banned Islamic Renascence Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) for the July 29 killings, ignoring or downplaying possible Islamic State (IS) terror group links.

Tajik authorities have cited a confession by Abdusamadov in which he purportedly acknowledged receiving “ideological and military-sabotage training” in 2014-15 in Iran, where he “joined the IRPT extremist group” and met with Qori Nosir, the local cleric whose association with Abdusamadov was also cited by Abdusamadov's mother.

The IRPT leadership denied what it said were “baseless and irrational allegations” that it was involved, calling the accusations “shameless and illogical slander.”

Asliddin and Jaffariddin were residents of Nurek.  Their mother, Nabotbegim Yusupova, says her sons were well-bred and studied not bad at school.  According to her, they were not very religious and “somebody deceived them and led astray.” 

Meanwhile, Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service says two others of the four dead suspects, Asomiddin Majidov and Zafarjon Safarov, were relatives of Hussein Abdusamadov, the alleged ringleader behind July's deadly attack on foreign cyclists. They were reportedly from the village of Selga in Khatlon province.   Both traveled to Russia in late February after failing university entrance exams in 2017.  According to Tajik authorities, they had returned to Tajikistan two days before the attack on the cyclists.

According to RFE/RL Tajiks Service, Hussein Abdusamadov spent his early childhood in the village of Selga, in Khatlon province, near Tajikistan’s border with Afghanistan. His father died in 1988 when he was 3 years old.

By the early 1990s, as the newly independent Tajikistan descended into civil war, he and his mother and two brothers had resettled in Dushanbe, which had more than half a million residents.

From the age of 10, Abdusamadov attended what was known as the Presidential Lyceum, a prestigious boarding school with long-standing ties to the government and high education standards.  After graduation, in 2002, he enrolled in the international relations program at the Tajik State University of Commerce, where he was elected head of the student council.

According to his mother Gulchehra Shodmonova, around that time she noticed Hussein and another son in the company of a local religious man named Nosirkhoja Ubaidov, also known as Qori Nosir.  She blamed Qori Nosir -- who authorities would subsequently allege was a recruiter and agent for radical Islamists -- for influencing her son and convincing him to drop out of university in 2004.