2015-06-19 14:00:00

Former Tajik OMON commander threatens to cut off his own brother's head

Dushanbe, June 19, Interfax - A former Tajik OMON unit commander who joined the terrorist organization Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in late May has posted online a new video to deny his alleged mental disorder and to threaten his brother who urged him to go home and stand trial.

A number of state-owned Tajik media outlets branded Col. Gulmurod Khalimov mad after the Prosecutor General's Office had charged him in absentia with high treason and membership of an illegal armed unit fighting in foreign territory.

"I am absolutely healthy. And I am surprised. How could you send a crazy man to the United States for training, how could you give me the colonel's rank and thrice decorate me with medals? If I am mad so are other colonels of the Interior Ministry," Khalimov said in the video which depicted him against the background of the ISIL flag, black with a white sun and words in Arabic on it.

The first video of the former Tajik OMON unit commander was posted in social networking services on May 28. Khalimov, posing for the video against the background of palm trees and bearded men with arms in their hands, said that he had come to Syria to fight for "rights of Muslims" and promised to return to Tajikistan and enforce Sharia law, a code of Muslim regulations.

The second video showed Khalimov wearing a beard and seated with another two bearded men. Two submachine guns stood against the wall in the background.

"I swear in the name of Allah to use my weapon only against the infidels. If my brother stands against me and becomes an infidel, I will personally cut off his head," Khalimov said.

The colonel's brother, Lt. Col. Saidmurod Khalimov, an employee of the Tajik Justice Ministry, send an open letter to his brother on May 31. "I am asking you to return to Tajikistan and stand trial," the brother wrote in the letter published by a number of Tajik media outlets.

The brother of the fugitive claimed that he tendered his resignation immediately after the video was released but his superiors did not accept it and said "everyone must bear personal responsibility for one's crimes."

The second video of Khalimov explained his siding with ISIL via alleged violations of religious norms in his home country. For instance, he criticized provisions of the Tajik laws On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations and On Liability of Parents passed in 2009 and 2011, respectively, which prohibited minors from visiting mosques. The norms were criticized by human rights activists and Western states, which said they might displease the civilian population and provoke its interest in propaganda of extremist movements.

Interpol has posted a most wanted person bulletin on Khalimov. He is the father of eight children and a graduate of the Interior Ministry Academy, who has been on exchange programs to Russia and the United States more than once.

The Tajik Supreme Court has added ISIL to the list of terrorist organizations and citizens who join ISIL's ranks will face prosecution on terrorism counts.