World Bulletin / News Desk
A court in Tajikistan on Thursday jailed two lawyers linked to a banned opposition group for over 20 years on extremism and embezzlement charges.
Buzurgmehr Yorov, who represented jailed members of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), was sentenced to 23 years behind bars and had all his property confiscated.
Nuriddin Makhamov, who had intended to represent his colleague Yorov at the time he was arrested, will serve 21 years in jail, a spokesman for the court in the capital Dushanbe told AFP.
Tajikistan's long-ruling President Emomali Rakhmon said last month that the IRPT, which styled itself as moderate, had planned to create an "Islamic state" in Tajikistan.
In September 2015 the former Soviet central Asian republic's government declared the IRPT a terror group, six months after it failed to make it into parliament in disputed elections.
The state prosecutor says it has jailed 170 people including key IRPT leaders over a bloody mutiny led by a deputy defence minister weeks before the IRPT was banned.
The United States, the European Union and a host of human rights groups have raised concerns about the government's treatment of political opponents since the fighting that killed at least 26 people.
The IRPT's leaders have denied any responsibility for the violence.
Some members of the IRPT fought on the side of the United Tajik Opposition during a five-year civil war that ended in 1997, paving the way for political reconciliation in the country.
Tajikistan shares a border around 1,300 kilometre (810 mile)-long with Afghanistan to the south, and is known as a key point of entry for drugs trafficked to Russia and Europe.
Last Mod: 06 Ekim 2016, 20:09