What led Tajikistan’s security services to suspect a respected researcher of treason and arrest him last month? The answer can be found in recent developments in Tajikistan, and indeed across the former Soviet Union. Alexander Sodiqov’s June 16 arrest comes amid a spike in growing anti-Western rhetoric from Tajik officials.
According to Tajikistan’s State Committee for National Security (GKNB), my friend Alexander – who was conducting fieldwork on conflict management for Britain’s University of Exeter – was allegedly spying for an unnamed “foreign government” with “hostile intentions” at the time he was taken into custody in the conflict-prone eastern town of Khorog. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison. Authorities have held him for three weeks now and have classified his case as “secret.”
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Edward Lemon, a former EurasiaNet contributor, is now pursuing a political science PhD in the UK.