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ANKARA, March 9. /TASS/. Istanbul’s police have arrested three persons suspected of being involved in the murder of Tajik opposition leader Umarali Kuvvatov, who was shot dead in Istanbul on March 5, the television channel Haber 7 said on Monday.
According to Haber 7 TV, investigators believe the three have contacts with Tajik security services.
A man named Suleiman is believed to be responsible for the assassination plan. He allegedly cooked poisoned pilaw to be treated to Kuvvatov and his family on the day of murder. The other two men are said to be the committers of the crime. The police continue the investigation.
In the evening on March 5, Kuvvatov with his wife and children had dinner at his friend Suleman’s, in his rented apartment in Istanbul’s Fatih district. Amidst the dinner, Suleiman suddenly left the house saying he would be back soon. Kuvvatov however grew suspicious that the meal was poisoned and left after Suleiman. When he was trying to catch up with Suleiman, a man came up to him from behind and shot him in the head. Suleiman and the murderer then fled.
In January, Tajikistan requested extradition of Umarali Kuvvatov, a businessman and the leader of the opposition Group 24, from Turkey. The request was turned down. According to Turkey’s Aksam newspaper, Kuvvatov was detained in Istanbul on December 20, 2014 on suspicion of illegal entry to the country. Tajikistan prosecutor general’s offices put the man on the wanted list as his Group 24 had recognized as an extremist organization in September 2014. The group was accused of an attempted coup.
After the detention, Kuvvatov spent two days at the Istanbul security department, where he said he might be killed and asked for bodyguards. He said he had previously hidden in Russia, Dubai and Kyrgyzstan. In his words, he feared for his life since as a commerce partner of the Tajik president’s son-in-law he had insider information about the Tajik leader’s secret affairs. Until February 3, he enjoyed the status of a detainee and lived with his family at a police guest house in the town as Kirklareli. After that, he moved to a rented apartment in Istanbul’s Fatih.