Tajik officials have reported that three Islamic students have been detained and charged in the wake of the October 1 bombing of the Korean-led Grace Sonmin church in the center of the Tajik capital Dushanbe. Security Ministry officials in Dushanbe have declined to confirm or deny this information to Keston News Service. However, Keston has learnt that all the church members detained in the wake of the bombing have apparently been freed.

About a dozen church members were detained in the immediate aftermath of the bombing as the authorities appear to have been determined to identify church members as the culprits, though most were freed after interrogation. Three church members were held in the week after the blasts and sources told Keston last week that one was still being held.

Interior Minister Khumdin Sharipov told the Russian Itar-Tass news agency on October 22 that three residents of Dushanbe suspected of setting off the two explosions were in custody. He added that he expected other organizers of the explosions to be identified this week. The following day Abdurakhman Rustamov, head of the interior ministry's crime-fighting unit, described the three Tajiks being held, aged in their thirties, as 'religious fanatics' and said they were also responsible for two other attacks. He told Agence France Presse that the three—students enrolled in an Islamic studies institute—have been charged with organizing the bombing.

Ayfiddin Ashurov of the Security Ministry press center refused to give Keston any information about the state of the investigation or to confirm or deny the arrests. "We don't give out any information by telephone to foreign journalists, only to our own," he told Keston from Dushanbe on October 24. He referred ...

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