Tajikistan’s Ministry of Justice has confirmed that Ibrohim Nasriddinov (also known as Kori Ibrohim), one of the 25 prisoners who escaped from a high-security detention centre in Dushanbe on August 23, 2010, is a former Guantanamo detainee (Asia Plus, RFE/RL). Although his name is not on the official list of Tajik citizens who were held at the U.S. Guantanamo detention centre in Cuba, Radio Free Europe reported on August 7, 2007, that Nasriddinov was repatriated from Guantanamo to Tajikistan in May 2007 and imprisoned for 23 years on charges ranging from murder to illegal possession of weapons.
After Tajikistan’s State Committee for National Security (GKNB) listed Ibrohim Nasriddinov among the 25 fugitives who had escaped from the prison in Dushanbe, local analysts and media began speculating whether the escapee and the former Tajik Guantanamo detainee were in fact the same person. There was a strong reason to doubt this because, by Tajik law, Nasriddnov had to be transferred to a maximum-security prison immediately after his sentencing in 2007. Therefore, it was not clear what the person convicted in 2007 could do in the GKNB’s detential centre – a pre-trial facility by design – at the time of the bold escape.
The questions was answered by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) spokesperson Parvina Alizoda. Speaking to Radio Free Europe on August 31, she said Nasriddinov had indeed spent some time in the high-security prison in Kurgan-Tube but was then transferred back to the detention centre in Dushanbe at GKNB’s request.
Moreover, according to the MoJ spokesperson, Nasriddinov was somewhat a “privileged prisoner” (Asia Plus). He had access to sell keys and was allowed to more freely within the confines of the detention centre even at night time despite his militant past.
This privileged status helped Nasriddinov to organize the prison escape, according to Alizoda. She said Nasriddinov approached the guard on duty with another inmate who claimed to have acute stomach problems, asking for emergency medical care. When the guard open the cell door, Nasriddinov killed him, took the remaining two guards captive and opened all cells in the detention centre.
Ministry of Justice’s statement is a latest blow to the GKNB’s image as an agency that keeps tight control over security in the country. The statement also indicates that heads of security agencies in the country are now increasingly trying to make sure that they are not blamed, event partially, for being negligent and permitting the prison break to happen.