Tajikistan: authorities identify suspects in attack on foreign cyclists, insist they were members of banned party

dushanbe_adb-b2d

DUSHANBE (TCA) — Authorities in Tajikistan have released the names of five men they say carried out a July 29 attack that left four foreign cyclists dead and three injured, RFE/RL’s Tajik Service reported.

The August 3 statement of Tajikistan’s chief prosecutor’s office said that Hussein Abdusamadov — who is accused of being the ringleader of the group — was detained and the other four men were killed during a police operation to capture them on the night of July 29-30.

Prosecutors identified the five suspects as Abdusamadov, Asomiddin Majidov, and Zafar Safarov from Panj District and two brothers from the town of Nurek, Asliddin and Jafar Yusupov.

Ten residents of Nurek have also reportedly been detained in connection with the case.

The officials said all five were members of the banned Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), which the Tajik authorities have blamed for the attack.

Officials said a video purportedly showing the men swearing allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group was a ruse “with the aim to deflect suspicion from another terrorist organization,” the IRPT, “which masterminded this act of terror.”

The IRPT leadership has called the authorities’ claims “baseless and irrational,” as well as “shameless and illogical slander.”

The attack on a group of foreign cyclists on a remote mountain road on July 29 claimed the lives of two Americans, a Dutchman, and a Swiss citizen.

Three other foreigners — one Dutch, one Swiss, and one French — were injured.

Sergey Kwan

TCA