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.

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Prosecutors Seek Additional Seven Years In Prison For Jailed Tajik Lawyer.

BOKHTAR, Tajikistan -- Prosecutors in Tajikistan are seeking an additional seven years in prison for a jailed Tajik lawyer on charges of having links with an extremist group.

Saidnuriddin Shamsiddinov was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison last December for alleged fraud, illegal land sales and the spreading of false information, charges that he and his relatives have rejected, calling them retaliation for Shamsiddinov's open criticism of officials.

In April this year, a new probe was launched against Shamsiddinov on the charge of having ties to the banned political organization Group 24, which has been labeled as extremist in the Central Asian nation.

A court official in the southern city of Bokhtar told RFE/RL on November 23 that prosecutors asked the court last week to add seven years to his current prison term. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the case.

According to the court official, the verdict on that case had been initially scheduled to be pronounced on November 22, but was delayed after the prosecutor fell ill. The verdict will now be handed down at an unspecified date.

Shamsiddinov's lawyer, Faizi Oli, told RFE/RL in June that his client had nothing to do with Group 24 and has never had any contacts 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 found the group extremist and banned it from the 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.

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