Tajik jailed for killing president's relative

January 19, 2013 - 2:34:53 pm
DUSHANBE, Tajikistan: Tajikistan sentenced to 26 years in prison a man convicted of murdering the brother-in-law of President Emomali Rakhmon, sources in the country's Supreme Court told AFP Saturday.

The sources said the man, 45-year-old Dilovarsho Kosimov, was convicted of the June killing of Kholmumin Safarov, who was ambushed in his car in the Tajik capital Dushanbe and then shot in the head.

Safarov was the husband of the country's veteran leader's sister. He oversaw the distribution of timber and hunting licenses and once headed the timber state enterprise Tajikles.

The Supreme court also convicted Kosimov of weapons possession and polygamy, the sources said. His co-defendants, brothers Makhmadtoir and Makhmadfozil Khakimovs were sentenced to eight and three years in jail, respectively, for failing to alert the police and gun possession.

The classified case was heard behind closed doors in the country's justice ministry prison. The verdict was pronounced Friday.

Kosimov's defence decried the verdict in local papers, saying the man only pleaded guilty to polygamy, and accusing the court of using illegitimate evidence to make the decision.

Rakhmon, who has ruled with an iron fist after seeing his republic shattered by civil war when the Soviet Union broke up, has one brother and one sister.

The tightly-controlled mountainous country is the poorest among the ex-Soviet nations, with much of its working-age population employed abroad in construction and agriculture. (AFP)