DUSHANBE, February 18 (RIA Novosti) - Tajikistan’s Prosecutor General’s Office sent Ukraine an extradition request on Monday for former Prime Minister Abdumalik Abdullojonov, First Deputy Prosecutor General Abdukodir Mukhamadiyev said.
“The [extradition] request is based on 60 volumes of a criminal case opened against Abdullojonov in 1998,” he said.
The former prime minister and one-time rival of Tajikistan's President Emomali Rakhmon, Abdullojonov, who has lived in the United States for a decade, was detained on February 7 at Ukraine’s Borispol Airport, reportedly under an international arrest warrant issued by Tajikistan some 16 years ago.
The Tajikistan authorities accuse Abdullojonov, 64, of organizing a 1996 assassination attempt on Rakhmon, in which the president sustained a gunshot wound to the leg, and of supporting an uprising by Col. Makhmud Khudoyberdyyev in November 1998. Both events took place in northern Tajikistan, Abdullojonov’s home region. In media interviews at the time, Abdullojonov denied any involvement in Tajik politics.
At that time, the country was emerging from its brutal 1992-1997 civil war, which ended in a short-lived power-sharing agreement among warring factions that often had strong ties to particular areas of the country.
Prior to that, Abdullojonov (whose name appears in press reports in various forms, including Abdullodzhonov and Abdulladzhanov) served as Tajikistan’s prime minister in 1992-1993 and, later, spent two years as the country’s ambassador to Russia.
In 1994, he ran for president in the country’s first nationwide election since independence from the Soviet Union. As a northerner, Abdullojonov had widespread support among voters in Sughd Region (then called Leninabad Region), whence the political leaders of Soviet Tajikistan had traditionally hailed. Abdullojonov lost to Rakhmon, who has been ruling the country ever since and gradually sidelining his political rivals.
In 1998, Abdullojonov moved to the United States. The Tajik-language service of Radio Free Europe, Radio Ozodi, has reported that he holds a US "green card" (permanent residence permit) and had flown into Kiev from Los Angeles via Amsterdam, according to Fergananews.com, a website focusing on Central Asia.