Twenty-two prisoners and two guards – a 42-year-old Major Mirsaid Qodirov and a 27-year-old guard Ehson Yoqubov -- were killed when a riot broke out late on November 7 in a high-security penal colony in the northern city of Khujand, news.tj reports.
Tajik authorities have been slow in revealing details about the prison riot but it now seems that dozens of people, mainly prisoners, were killed.
A reliable source at the Sughd law enforcement authorities says twenty-two prisoners and two guards were killed in the Khujand prison riot. Besides, six other law enforcement officers with various wounds were hospitalized.
The authorities have been largely silent about what occurred but sources close to the Sughd law enforcement authorities say several people convicted of religious extremism and terrorism organized the riot at the Khujand high-security penal colony 3/3. They were reportedly armed with cold steels and one of them managed to disarm a guard, took his assault rifle and began shooting at guards and wardens.
It is not clear what sparked the riot that was suppressed by riot police sent to the prison.
Recall, Amaq news agency, which is linked to the Islamic State (IS) terror group, reported on November 8 that one of IS fighters “is responsible for the attack in Tajikistan that sparked a prison riot.”
Some media outlets have dwelled on the fact that the Khujand high-security penal colony has been used to hold people convicted on charges of belonging to radical religious organizations.
Meanwhile, a serious riot took place in Khujand-based men’s penal colony 3/19 on April 14, 1997. Prisoners reportedly protested living conditions and perceived injustice in the prison system. Security forces put down the protest on April 17 in what Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called a “massacre.” The Tajik government says 24 prisoners were killed and 35 were wounded, but human rights organizations have estimated as many as 150 people were killed.