KIEV, April 5 (RAPSI) - Ukraine has turned down an extradition request from Tajikistan for its former Prime Minister Abdumalik Abdullojonov, and released him from detention, Ukraine's Prosecutor General's Office told RIA Novosti on Friday.
Abdullojonov was released from detention on Thursday, where he was awaiting a court decision on the Tajikistan authorities' request for his extradition, Ukrainian news agency UNIAN reported.
Kiev’s Shevchenkovsky District Court issued an extradition warrant for Abdullojonov on March 15, after receiving an extradition request from the Prosecutor General's Office of Tajikistan.
Abdullojonov was Tajikistan's prime minister between 1992 and 1993 during the country's five-year civil war. He was later appointed Tajikistan’s Ambassador to Russia.
In 1994, Abdullojonov ran for president in the republic's first nationwide election. A northerner, he was largely supported by voters in Tajikistan’s Sughd Province, a traditional home ground of the political elite of the former Tajikistan Soviet Socialist Republic. Abdullojonov lost to Emomali Rahmon, who remains president of the country to this day.
He was charged with plotting an attack on Rahmon in 1996, when the president was shot in the leg, and with supporting an uprising led by Colonel Makhmud Khudoiberdiyev in northern Tajikistan in November 1998. Abdullojonov has denied these charges in interviews with foreign media, claiming they are politically motivated.
In 1998, Abdullojonov, who had already been on the international wanted list for a year, emigrated to the United States. His lawyers claim he was granted refugee status.
Abdullojonov was detained at Kiev’s Boryspil Airport on February 5, 2013, and a court ordered his detention for 40 days. If found guilty of the charges in Tajikistan, he could be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison and his property confiscated.
In early March, human rights group Amnesty International called on the Ukrainian authorities not to extradite Abdullojonov to Tajikistan, where it claimed he could be subject to torture and other serious breaches of human rights.