DUSHANBE, July 14, 2011, Asia-Plus  -- Arrest of the BBC reporter Urunboy Usmonov by the security officers may seriously undermine Tajikistan prestige on international arena, Suhrob Sharipov, Director of the Center for Strategic Studies under the President of Tajikistan, stated at a news conference in Dushanbe on July 14.

“This issue has gone beyond the scope of jurisprudence and got political color and President Emomali Rahmon himself is watching investigation into this case,” Sharipov said.

He noted that President Rahmon has taken efforts to raise Tajikistan’s prestige on international arena.  “Last month, President Rahmon toured Europe, where he held talks with leaders of a number of countries and various organizations.  He has taken efforts to raise the country’s prestige.  That sort of thing happened after his return to Dushanbe.  This incident caused dissatisfaction of European structures that recently met with the president in Europe,” the Tajik think tank head stressed.

According to him, such actions of officers from the State Committee for National Security (SCNS) may seriously undermine the country’s prestige.  “They should think before doing anything, thoroughly count the cost, think who they are up against and what consequences may be.  They must take into account the possible response of international community to such actions,” said Sharipov, “But if security officers commit such actions it is necessary to assess their professionalism.”

Sharipov noted that person should be made answerable for crime he committed.  “But the power-wielding structures must take into account the degree of crime.  There ought to think when you make any decision,” he said, adding that with regard to the BBC reporter security officers have gone too far.

He noted that at present hundreds of lawsuits were currently being filed against journalists.  “The stage has come today when journalists are touching upon subjects that may affect concrete interests.  It is a normal process.  But journalists in West have corporations of lawyers who protect their interests,” said Sharipov, “The time has come when Tajik journalist should also unite and enlist the services of skilled lawyers for protection of their interests.”