Deputy leader of the opposition Social-Democratic Party of Tajikistan (SDPT) Mahmurod Odinayev, 58, who has been on missing since November 20, was reportedly detained in Dushanbe on December 5 and brought under convoy to Hisor, according to the press center of the Prosecutor-General’s Office.  He faces five years in prison for hooliganism.

A statement released by the Prosecutor-General’s Office, in particular, says Odinayev together with his wife Mehrinigor Rizoyeva and their son Habibullo Odinayev on October 29 came to the military registration and enlistment office in Hisor and noted that their son had been drafted into the army illegally.  And they deliberately disturbed public order, according to the statement.  

Despite the warning from government officials, Odinayev reportedly “continued his illegal actions, using threats, brute force and indecent language against government officials.” 

The Hisor prosecutor-general’s office on November 20 instituted criminal proceedings against Mahmurod Odinayev under provisions of Article 237 (2) of Tajikistan’s Penal Code – hooliganism committed by a group of people by prior conspiracy, with resistance to government officials or to other persons charged with the responsibility of maintaining public order; an investigation is under way.  

If convicted, Odinayev could face up to five years in prison or a fine of 30,000 somonis to 60,000 somonis.  

Meanwhile, SDPT leader Rahmatillo Zoyirov says he does not yet know exactly for what unlawful actions Odinayev was detained.

Zoyirov told Asia-Plus today they he will send a group to activists to the Prosecutor-General’s Office to find out the reasons for the detention of his deputy.  

According to SDPT leader, Odinayev contacted him on December 4, the day before his arrest.  “He told me that he was being persecuted for dissent and he was forced to flee when law enforcement officers came for him to home,” Zoyirov said.  

He further noted that the party would hire professional lawyer to defend Mahmurod Odinayev.  

Recall, relatives of Odinayev, who has not been seen since November 20, told Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service that he went missing days after he placed a post on Facebook asking Dushanbe Mayor Rustam Emomali to allow him and his party's activists to stage a protest over food price hikes.

According to the relatives, they officially turned to police several times, asking law enforcement officers to find the missing politician.  Odinayev's relatives also said police questioned them regarding the opposition figure's mysterious disappearance.

Earlier in October, Odinayev reportedly said that unknown attackers had severely beaten his son, adding that the assault was a part of a pressure campaign being imposed on him for his political activities.