In yet another fatal motor accident in Tajikistan involving the relative of a top official, the 23-year old son of the deputy prime minister this week crashed his Toyota Camry into a public utilities vehicle, killing two people.
Asia-Plus news website cited an unnamed security source as saying that one of the people killed was Faromuz Saidov’s passenger, a 25-year old woman, and that the other was a city worker. RFE/RL’s Tajik service, Radio Ozodi, reported that the Toyota was being driven at a high speed when it collided.
Saidov, who is the son of first deputy premier Davlati Saidov, was treated for his injuries at a hospital in Dushanbe.
The sight of expensive cars speeding unimpeded along the main thoroughfares of the capital is not an uncommon one. It is widely whispered that the drivers are more often than not the monied offspring of rich government officials.
Previously, Davlati Saidov served as head of the youth, sport and tourism committee, then was Tajikistan’s ambassador to Japan, later the head of the investment committee and, since 2013, has been first deputy prime minister. Unconfirmed media reports have suggested he is related somehow to President Emomali Rahmon.
The Interior Ministry has promised a fair investigation into the accident, but there are grounds to be skeptical. Similar things have happened before, only for those guilty to walk away scot free.
In September 2014, an assistant to a district prosecutor in Dushanbe, Firuz Holikzoda, again driving at high speed, knocked down a 54-year old city sweeper, killing her instantly. The impact was so powerful that witnesses said the woman’s body was spilt into two. Holikzoda was released from detention shortly thereafter as part of an amnesty.
The previous October, three people were killed in a late-night accident when the 16-year son of the former head of the Tajik railways — also a relative of the president by marriage — plowed his BMW into another car. The wife of the railways head was fined 120 somoni ($25) for failing in her responsibilities as a parent. In June 2014, the interior minister announced that several expert surveys of the incident had found that the driver of the BMW bore no responsibility for the accident.
Going further back, to 2011, the son of the chairman of the Supreme Court, 24-year old Farhod Abdullayev knocked down a Chinese citizen, killing her instantly. A criminal case was opened against Abdullayev, but was later dropped. The interior minister at the time again duly concluded that Abdullayev was not at fault.
There are rumors of other incidents of similar accidents involving young drivers related to officials being swept under the carpet.
One case did play out a little differently, however.
In 2012, the 21-year old son of opposition Islamic Renaissance Party leader Muhiddin Kabiri hit a child running across the road in the Vahdat district, just outside Dushanbe. He was fined $10,000.