Five young men from the Rushan district of the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO) have been fined for obstructing the work of local police.   

A statement released by the Interior Ministry’s press center says that residents of the Rushan district were protesting, allegedly expressing dissatisfaction with the arrest of a resident of the district, who is suspected of organizing a criminal group engaged in trafficking narcotic drugs from Afghanistan into Tajikistan.  

Five local residents – Gharibsho Gharibshoyev, Darzu Bodurov, Azamat Khoushnazarov, Mohammad Mabatshoyev and Azamjon Farodbekov – were reportedly fined 406.00 somoni each for obstructing the work of police, according to the Interior Ministry’s press center.  

Meanwhile, local residents say they had organized a rally demanding not the release of the suspect leader of the organized crime group but the termination of persecution of local three young men, whom security officers had tried to arrest together with the suspect ringleader. 

The story began on May 22, when officers with the State Committee for National Security (SCNS) carried out an operation to detain a resident of GBAO’s Rushan district, Sharof Qobilov, who is suspected by law enforcement bodies of drug-smuggling and leading an organized criminal group.  Officials accuse Qobilov of trafficking narcotics from across the border in Afghanistan.

When the security officers sought to detain Qobilov, three young men – Yodgor Ghulomaidarov, Habib Mavlododov and Ilchibek Bakhtibekov -- who were with him at the time reportedly intervened to thwart the arrest.  But they too ended up being detained.

This sparked a rolling series of rallies to demand their release outside SCNS’s office in Rushan that began from May 25.  Within a few days, protestors actually managed to break the men free, but continued to gather to ensure that charges against them were dropped. 

The GBAO governor Yodgor Faizov managed to persuade demonstrators to disperse peacefully.

The SCNS agreed to back down from its threat to jail the men and they were punished by five days of administrative arrest. 

“It’s good that the authorities have cleared it.  After all, in fact, security officers have created tension, arresting young men and accusing them of what they did not do.  People knew the guy were not guilty.  The people only demanded that everything be in accordance with the law and the guys would not be assigned to a criminal group, to which they have nothing to do,” a resident of the Rushan district told Asia-Plus.