Rustam Khukumov released from Russian prison

Staff Report

2012-01-07

MOSCOW – The Moscow Oblast court December 28 acquitted Tajik-born Rustam Khukumov of drug charges and released him, AsiaPlus.tj reported January 6, quoting the BBC’s Tajik service, which cited a December 30 blog posting by Khukumov’s defence attorney, Konstantin Rybalov.Khukumov is the son of Amonullo Khukumov, director of the Tajik Railway.

The oblast court’s presidium ruled that Khukumov had been convicted “based on supposition ... and without proving his guilt,” Rybalov blogged. He dismissed claims by some journalists that Khukumov’s release was linked to the Tajik detention and eventual release in November of pilots Vladimir Sadovnichy (Russia) and Aleksei Rudenko (Estonia).

Tajikistan never suggested swapping the pilots for Khukumov, the Russian Foreign Ministry said, according to CA-News.org. Khukumov, though reportedly a Russian citizen, has returned to Tajikistan, media reported January 6.

The Shchelkovo city court in Moscow Oblast convicted Khukumov in September 2010 of possession of 9kg of Afghan heroin and sentenced him to nine and a half years’ imprisonment, Avesta.tj reported January 6.

Police arrested him and three other Tajiks in June 2008, AsiaPlus.tj reported.

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