Members of Group 44 of Group 44, which was set up from among the protesters in Khorog, the capital of the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO), on November 28 to monitor the implementation of agreements reached between the protesters and GBAO’s government, have made a video message to Speaker of the Majlisi Milli (Tajikistan’s upper chamber of parliament), Mr. Rustam Emomali,  asking him to take the situation in Khorog under his personal control and support them in maintaining peace and stability in the region.

According to them, peace and stability in GBAO is under threat due to actions of the law enforcement authorities.   

The video message was posted on Pamir Daily News’ website in the evening of December 19.

Meanwhile, Khujamri Pirmamadov, a spokesman for the Group 44, says the situation in Khorog remains tense.

“According to our data, the law enforcement agencies of the city have already lifted weapons and ammunition to the roofs of the university and regional administration buildings.  Instead of to terminate the permanent checkpoints in the city as they promised, the authorities have strengthened them.  The situation is tense and people again want to go to the rally, but we hold them back.  We hope Rustam Emomali will react to our appeal and the situation will be stabilized,” Pirmamadov told Asia-Plus today afternoon by phone.  

According to him, most of all the State Committee for National Security (SCNS)’s office in GBAO escalates the situation, summoning the protest rally participants for questioning and “showing video accusing everyone of crimes”, though the authorities had agreed to refrain from any kind of persecution of the protesters.  

“People are already tense due to the increased military presence in the region and the lack of access to Internet.  Demonstration of video accusing the rally participants can't help but annoy people,” Pirmamadov said.  

“The video says a damage of 3 million somonis has been caused to the city, but how much do they estimate the damage they caused by disconnecting the Internet.  We are in an information blockadeб and at the same timeб they try to put pressure on us in every possible way,” the Group 44 spokesman said.  

According to him, other law enforcement authorities – police and prosecutor’s office -- are more willing to cooperate, although there are difficulties there as well.  

Pirmamadov further noted that their representatives will resume their participation in the work of a commission, which was set up to investigate the events that took place in Khorog last month, on December 20.

Recall, representatives of civil society said last week that they suspend their participation in the work of the commission.  They said they are concerned that while the investigation is still ongoing, but the law enforcement authorities already accuse local residents, and the question of people killed and wounded during the rally has not even been raised.  They noted at the time that GBAO chief prosecutor Parviz Orifzoda interferes in all matters and one feels that he wants to direct the work of the commission in a completely different direction.       

Recall, representatives of the GBAO civil society made a video message on December 16, expressing concern about non-compliance with their demands after the protest rally of November 25-28.

Pirmamadov said on December 20 they will resume their participation in the work of the commissions, because investigation into the killing of Gulbiddin Ziyobekov is the priority of their work.  

Recall, several thousand people participated in the four-day protest rally in the central square of Khorog following the killing of Roshtqala residents Gulbiddin Ziyobekov by law enforcement authorities.  It ended on the evening of November 28, after the protesters and the authorities reached the agreement.  The authorities agreed to refrain from any kind of persecution of the protesters, to conduct a quick, impartial, and effective investigation into the deaths of Gulbiddin Ziyobekov, Gulnazar Murodbekov, and Tutisho Amirshoev, to restore Internet access in GBAO and terminate the permanent checkpoints in the city.

However, the authorities have not yet fulfilled any of the terms of the agreement reached between them and protesters on November 28.