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Tajikistan: Court Imprisons Lawyers for Representing Political Party
Following the sentencing of Tajik lawyers Buzurgmehr Yorov and Nuriddin Mahkamov to lengthy prison sentences for representing members of the banned Islamic Renaissance Party, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“Authorities in Tajikistan brought frivolous charges against Yorov and Mahkamov for fulfilling their professional obligations, and now have sentenced them to more than 20 years imprisonment in a case that reflects politics, not justice or rule of law,” said Daniel Calingaert, acting president. “This case was about discouraging any further legal support for members of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan and intimidating civil society.”
Buzurgmehr Yorov and Nuriddin Mahkamov were arrested in late 2015 after providing legal services for 13 members and leaders of the banned Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT). The party members were brought to trial this year and sentenced to long prison terms. The charges against the two attorneys included inciting ethnic enmity, calling for the overthrow of the government, support of extremist activity, fraud, and forgery. On October 6, Yorov and Mahkamov were sentenced to 23 and 21 years imprisonment respectively.
Tajikistan is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2016, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2016, and receives a democracy score of 6.54, on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2016.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.