One year ago, authorities in Tajikistan announced the death of the militant Alovuddin Davlatov, aka Ali Bedaki. Despite evidence suggesting that Bedaki was captured alive in January 2011, interrogated and then executed extrajudicially, local media and human rights groups as well as the international community have mostly been silent and reluctant to address this case.
Bedaki was a mid-level opposition field commander during the 1992-1997 Tajik civil war. He later joined the police force, presumably as part of the 1997 peace accord where some former United Tajik Opposition (UTO) fighters were incorporated into Tajikistan’s security forces. He soon left the police and supposedly became a farmer. Following the September 19, 2010, attack on a government military convoy in the Rasht valley in eastern Tajikistan where 28 conscripts were killed, security agencies placed the blame on Bedaki and another former UTO commander, Abdullo Rahimov, aka ‘Mullo Abdullo’, killed in April 2011. Immediately after the attack, Bedaki’s brother, Husniddin Davlatov, was detained and alleged in a televised ‘confession’ that the convoy assault was led by his brother. Consequently, Bedaki became a key target of a security operation in the Rasht valley. His brother and father were convicted and sent to prison.
On January 4, 2011, the authorities announced that Bedaki had been killed in a shootout with government troops in the village of Runob, one kilometer south of the Rasht district center. The official narrative claimed that he and a number of his men were spotted by police and were subsequently killed in a four-hour gun battle. In February, however, the official narrative was challenged by a YouTube video. The footage showed an exhausted and humiliated bearded man, stripped to his underpants but with no apparent wounds, which relatives and former UTO fighters recognized as Bedaki. He was being questioned in the back seat of a parked car by what appeared to be members of the Tajik security agencies. Soon after, the State Committee for National Security (GKNB) said they saw the footage but refused to comment, while the police denounced the video as “an ordinary fake.” A modified account of Bedaki’s death was offered in April when Amirqul Azimov, then head of Tajikistan’s National Security Council, announced that Bedaki had been captured alive, but died due to gunshot wounds on the way to hospital.