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Tajik spy charge academic Alexander Sodiqov freed

image copyrightYou Tube
image captionFootage from Alexander Sodiqov's interrogation appeared on Tajik TV shortly after his capture

A Tajik academic held for over a month on suspicion of espionage has been released on bail, the BBC's Tajik service reports.

Alexander Sodiqov was working on a project for Britain's Exeter University when he was arrested in the town of Khorog near the Afghan border.

Mr Sodiqov, who cannot leave his home under bail conditions, said he was treated well during his detention.

"I am home, I am happy. I am with my family members" he said.

Supporters of Mr Sodiqov, a Tajik national, have campaigned for his release since his arrest on 16 June.

He was working on a research project on conflict management in Central Asia for Exeter University when he was detained.

The following day Tajik media reported that Mr Sodiqov was being investigated on suspicion of espionage for an unnamed foreign country.

image copyrightFamily handout
image captionAlexander Sodiqov's family released a photo of him with his wife Musharraf and young daughter

Local television then showed him during questioning by the National Security Committee.

Rights groups Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders have spoken out on Mr Sodiqov's behalf.

Khorog, in Tajikistan's remote and mountainous Gorno-Badakhshan region, was chosen as one of the case studies because of serious fighting between the army and armed local opposition forces in July 2012.

The Tajik authorities have struggled to gain full control of Gorno-Badakhshan, which broadly supported the Islamist-led opposition during a five-year civil war between 1992 and 1997.

The autonomous region on the border with Afghanistan is physically remote and culturally distinct with the area's Pamiri population following the Ismaili branch of Shia Islam and speaking a different language from other Tajiks.

Related Topics

  • University of Exeter
  • Tajikistan

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