Prosecutors in Tajikistan have accused the leader of the Islamic Renaissance Party of instigating the recent unrest that culminated in dozens of deaths between government troops and loyalists of a former deputy defense minister accused of mounting a rebellion.
It is a dismal epilogue to the political career of Mukhiddin Kabiri, who pursued a liberal and accommodating line in relations with the government, drawing the criticism of those who believed he should have taken more hardline positions.
The Prosecutor General’s office said on September 17 that Kabiri headed 20 small-scale criminal groups and directly supervised their activities. Former defense minister and major-general Abduhalim Nazarzoda, a former member of the armed United Tajik Opposition, was taking his instructions directly from Kabiri, prosecutors said.
“The decision about the armed attack was taken in August 2015 and so for this purpose a large amount of money was funneled through so-called charitable organizations based in a number of countries,” prosecutors said in a statement.
The criminal gang being described by the government faces criminal charges including theft of weapons, ammunition and explosives, murder, hostage-taking, terrorism, threatening law enforcement officers and military personnel, and abuse of official positions.
No Western governments have to date issued any comment on the events unfolding in Tajikistan.
The U.S. State Department released only messages for American citizens warning them to take precautionary measures in the days following September 4. That appeared to serve as tacit confirmation of the official narrative, which has been supported by little actual evidence.
A freeze has been placed on all property belonging to Kabiri and the alleged leaders of the September 4 unrest.
The Prosecutor General's office said 13 Nazarzoda associates have been detained while attempting to hide from the authorities or to leave Tajikistan.
Those figures are the same as those in IRPT’s political council, which comprises 15 people, including Kabiri and Muhammadjon Nuri, who are both outside the country.
Kabiri has already denied all accusations.
“They tried to make us out as radicals and to provoke some tough action, at least some kind of rallies or protests. They closed our office, destroyed a building in broad daylight. The enlisted provocateurs to make public statements against the IRPT. They arrested and beat workers in our office. All this was done to provoke a harsh reaction from us, so they could cast this all as a fight against extremism and radicalism,” he said.
It turns out no excuse was needed. Kabiri is being designated a terrorist all the same.