Jailed Tajik Lawyer Charged Further With Having Links To Banned Political Group.

KHATLON, Tajikistan -- Jailed Tajik lawyer Saidnuriddin Shamsiddinov, a government critic imprisoned on fraud charges he says were politically motivated, faces new charges of having links with an extremist group.

Relatives told RFE/RL that Shamsiddinov, who once worked as a bailiff, is charged with having ties to the banned political organization Group 24, which has been declared an extremist group.

An investigator with the Khatlon regional prosecutor's office told RFE/RL on June 7 that a new probe had been launched against Shamsiddinov in mid-April but he did not provide any details.

If convicted of the charge, Shamsiddinov faces up to 10 years in prison.

In December 2020, Shamsiddinov was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison after a court in Khatlon found him guilty of fraud, illegal land sales, and spreading false information.

Shamsiddinov and his relatives have said that the case was politically motivated as retaliation for Shamsiddinov's open criticism of officials.

Shamsiddinov's lawyer, Faizi Oli, told RFE/RL that his client had nothing to do with Group 24 and had never had any contact with the banned organization.

Group 24 was founded by well-known businessman and opposition politician Umarali Quvatov in 2012.

In 2014, Tajikistan's Supreme Court declared the group extremist and banned it from the Central Asian country. Dozens of the group's members and supporters have been arrested and many of them sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

In March 2015, Quvatov was assassinated in Istanbul, Turkey.

Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

https://www.rferl.org/

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