Prosecutor general Bobodzhon Bobokhonov said on Monday Gaffor Mirzoyev was accused of nine crimes and that more charges may follow.

Allegations include the illegal possession of weapons, abuse of power, tax evasion and murder. If convicted on all charges, Mirzoyev faces up to 25 years in prison.

The arrest comes as President Imomali Rahmonov prepares for parliamentary elections in early 2005, to be followed by presidential elections.

According to the Tajik Avesta news agency, government security forces have gone on to high alert and are closely monitoring all traffic entering and leaving the capital Dushanbe.

Fall from power

Mirzoyev was a top field commander for the Popular Front during Tajikistan’s 1992-97 civil war and helped to install Rahmonov in power.
 
But over the past six years, Rahmonov has succeeded in removing most of his erstwhile allies from positions of authority.

Prior to his arrest, he was among a handful of former pro-government commanders still in the top echelons of power.

Mirzoyev’s political position had appeared tenuous since late January when Rahmonov removed him as head of the presidential guard and put him in charge of the Tajik Drug Control Agency three days later. 

A major factor in his fall from power was his support for Dushanbe Mayor Mahmadsaid Ubaidullaev, the chairman of the upper house of the Tajik legislature and a potential rival to Rahmonov for the presidency.