A trial of person charged with raping and killing a 9-year-old girl has begun in the southern province of Khatlon.

Deputy head of the Khatlon regional court Shamsullo Yahyozoda, who is presiding over the trial, told Asia-Plus today morning that several court hearings have already been held in that criminal case.  

According to him, criminal proceedings have been instituted against Boltakhonov under the provisions of three articles of Tajikistan’s Penal Code: Article 104 (2) – the murder of a minor or a person known to be in a helpless state; Article 138 (3) – rape; and Article 139 (4) -- violent acts of a sexual nature committed against a person known to be under the age of fourteen.  The man faces life imprisonment. 

The trail is being held behind closed doors. 

As it had been reported earlier, the tragedy took place in the village of Mehnat, Hiloli jamoat in Khuroson district on August 16.

The girl disappeared in the afternoon of August 16.  Her parents and relatives reportedly searched for the girl for several hours, and then turned to the police.

During the search operation, the girl's earring and some of her things were found near the house of their neighbor, Rustam Boltakhonov.

The 45-year-old Boltakhonov, who had previously been convicted of murder, fell under suspicion and was interrogated.  He reportedly confessed to what he had done during the first interrogation

The girl’s body was reportedly found in the night of August 17.

According to the preliminary investigation, Boltakhonov being in a state of drunkenness brought a local 9-year-old girl to his home and raped her twice, and to hide his crime, he strangled the girl and threw the body into the nearest canal.

A source within the law enforcement authorities says the suspect might have planned his crime in advance, as it turned out that before that he treated the girl to fruits and sweets several times.

Boltakhonov is married with three children.