The Supreme Court of Tajikistan on March 26 sentenced to death three United Opposition fighters who were found guilty of assassinating four staffers of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT). The victims were a Polish officer, an Uruguayan officer, a Japanese political adviser (who was an academic specialist in area studies), and a Tajik escort (Itar-Tass, March 27). The observers had been ambushed in July 1998 in a high-altitude area near Tavildara, just outside the zone of responsibility of the opposition’s noted field commander Mullo Abdullo. The opposition’s political leadership cooperated with the investigation, the arrest of the suspects and the judicial proceedings. UNMOT and UN relief agencies had suspended most of their activities after the assassination, and conditioned their full resumption on the apprehension and conviction of the assassins (see the Monitor, July 22, 23, 1998).
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