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Has the Case of the Suspects in the Murder of Shukhrat Ismatulloev Been Assigned a “Classified Classification”?

The Supreme Court does not announce the start date of the trial, and the Prosecutor General’s Office is silent about the “unauthorized appearance” of one of the suspects.

The Supreme Court of Tajikistan, almost a month after receiving the case of suspects in the murder of Orienbank deputy chairman Shukhrat Ismatulloev, is silent about the start date of the trial.

Meanwhile, Asia-Plus’ source in this department said that the Supreme Court has classified this case as classified and therefore information about the presiding judge and the start date of the process cannot be made public.

Over the past two weeks, Asia-Plus has contacted the press service of the Supreme Court several times with a question about the start date of the trial. They repeatedly said that this was “not yet known”, and also did not confirm or deny the information about giving this case a “classified secret”.

On November 24, the country’s Prosecutor General’s Office told Asia-Plus that the case of Dilshod Saidmurodov and 13 other people had been transferred for consideration to the Supreme Court of Tajikistan.

All of them are involved in the case of the kidnapping and murder of the first deputy head of Orienbank, Shukhrat Ismatulloev. Later this information was confirmed by the Supreme Court itself.

However, almost a month later, the date of the hearing is unknown. Although, according to the law, the period for starting the consideration of a criminal case in court after the case is transferred to the court is set from 14 to 30 days.

“A criminal case must be started for consideration in a court session no later than fourteen days from the moment the judge makes a decision to schedule a court session, and in exceptional cases, no later than thirty days,” says Article 271 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Tajikistan.

Did Shokhrukh Khudzhaev surrender voluntarily?
At the same time, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Tajikistan, referring to the transfer of the criminal case to the court and part 4 of Article 250 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Tajikistan (Sending the case to the court. Part 4. After sending the case to the court, all petitions and complaints in the case are sent directly to the court), refrained from providing details of this affairs.

This department did not give a clear answer to a written request from Asia-Plus about whether Shokhrukh Khudzhaev, another suspect in the abduction and murder of Shukhrat Ismatulloev, voluntarily returned to Tajikistan and surrendered to the investigative authorities.

The department’s response notes that “the criminal case against Khujaev Shokhrukh and others was sent to the Supreme Court of the Republic of Tajikistan on November 18, 2023 for consideration on the merits.”

Thus, the Prosecutor General’s Office did not report anything about how Khudzhaev returned from abroad, whether he himself surrendered to the investigative authorities or was detained and extradited.

The Prosecutor General’s Office said that to obtain additional information on this Asia-Plus case, one should contact the Supreme Court…

Let us recall that in early December there were reports that Shokhrukh Khudzhaev, “the last member of the organized crime group” involved in the kidnapping and murder of Shukhrat Ismatulloev, voluntarily returned from abroad and surrendered to the investigative authorities.

Thus, there are 14 people in the dock for the murder of the banker, including former law enforcement officer Dilshod Saidmurodov, whom the investigation considers the head of the criminal group.

What is known about the murder of the deputy head of Orienbank?
On June 23, 2023, members of a criminal group led by Saidmurodov (nicknamed “Dilshod the Handsome”) kidnapped Ismatulloev in the center of Dushanbe, “tortured him to death in one of the villages of the Varzob district, and threw his body into the Zarafshan River.”

The body was found almost two months later and identified by teeth.

After the incident, the Prosecutor General’s Office reported that the leader of the gang was Dilshod Saidmurodov, and Rustam Ashurov, Akbar Akhmedov and Shokhrukh Khudzhaev were directly involved in the kidnapping of the banker along with him.

The thieves’ car was caught on CCTV
Saidmurodov and Akhmedov fled to Russia, the other two to Turkey.

The Prosecutor General’s Office then turned to Russian Tajiks to assist in the capture of handsome Dilshod. It was also reported that Tajikistan was offering a reward for his capture, although the amount was not specified.

On June 30, Rustam Ashurov flew from Turkey to Moldova, but he was not allowed there: as a result, he grabbed the pistol of a Moldovan border guard, killed him and a security officer at the Chisinau airport, after which he received 10 bullets during detention and died in the hospital a few days later.

Before his arrest at the Chisinau airport, Ashurov called his mother and confessed to her that Ismatulloev was allegedly kidnapped because of his bitcoins worth $100-200 million.

On August 29, information appeared on the website of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs about a meeting between the Ministers of Internal Affairs of Tajikistan Ramazon Rahimzoda and Russia Vladimir Kolokoltsev, where it was reported that two suspects in the kidnapping and murder of a banker had been detained in the Russian Federation.

However, their names were not mentioned in that news.

How and where another suspect, Akbar Akhmedov, was detained was not officially reported. However, the authorities said that Akhmedov voluntarily surrendered to the authorities. The media wrote that in early August, law enforcement agencies detained and took his mother to a pre-trial detention center in order to put pressure on her son. After this, Akhmedov “was forced to return to Dushanbe from Moscow” and “surrender to law enforcement agencies.”

Source: Asia Plus TJ