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Tajik Journalist Arrested, Charged After Alleged Extortion By Officials

Tajik journalist Hairullo Mirsaidov (file photo)

SUGHD, Tajikistan -- Prominent Tajik journalist Hairullo Mirsaidov has been arrested and charged with embezzlement, inciting hatred, document forgery, and false reporting to police.

The prosecutor's office in the northern region of Sughd said that Mirsaidov was charged and sent to pretrial detention on December 8.

Mirsaidov's relatives told RFE/RL that the journalist was initially detained on December 5 and held in custody until the ruling.

Last month, Mirsaidov told RFE/RL that he had officially appealed to President Emomali Rahmon, Prosecutor-General Yusuf Rahmon, and Sughd regional governor Abdurahmon Qodiri, informing them of what he said was extortion by local authorities in Sughd.

Mirsaidov said that local officials who helped him secure budget funds for an improvisational comedy team to travel to Moscow to compete on a program called KVN demanded a $1,000 bribe, which he said he refused to pay.

Mirsaidov, 39, is a former correspondent of Dushanbe-based Asia-Plus news agency and Germany's Deutsche Welle radio.