DUSHANBE, July 14, 2011, Asia-Plus – The Prosecutor-General’s Office has changed a measure of restraint for the BBC reporter Urunboy Usmonov who was taken into custody one month ago.
Prosecutor-General Sherkhon Salimzoda told Asia-Plus by phone Thursday afternoon that he has signed an order for Usmonov''s release on condition that he does not leave the city of Khujand, the capital of the northern Sughd province.
“Prosecutors have studied criminal proceedings instituted against Usmonov and have come to a conclusion that investigation may be continued without holding the suspect in custody,” Salimzoda said noting that Usmonov will be released by the end of the day.
Urunboy Usmonov, 60, was detained on June 13 and accused of belonging to the banned Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, which he denies. Investigators have since dropped two initial charges. They had originally accused Usmonov of being a member of Hizb-ut-Tahrir and of making “public calls to forcibly change the constitutional system of Tajikistan.” The journalist is being charged with failing to report the activities of the Hizb ut-Tahrir group to the Tajik law enforcement authorities.
On July 12, Prosecutor-General Sherkhon Salimzoda told reporters in Dushanbe that the State Committee for National Security (SCNS)’s office in Sughd province had completed its investigation against Usmonov and sent the case to the Sughd regional prosecutor''s office for review. He also said that he had asked the SCNS to send a summary of the case to President Emomali Rahmon.
Urunboy Usmonov has worked for the BBC for about 10 years.