Exiled Tajik Blogger’s Mother Jailed On Charge Seen As Politically Motivated

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DUSHANBE -- The mother of exiled blogger Sherzod Mamadjonov has been sentenced to six years in prison on an extremism charge that the outspoken government critic has called a politically motivated attack on his family.

A court in Dushanbe sentenced Shohida Mamadjonova on April 7 after finding her guilty of providing online support to the banned political parties Group 24 and Islamic Renaissance of Tajikistan, which the court said were aimed at disrupting the Central Asian state's constitutional order.

Mamadjonova pleaded not guilty but did say she was "sorry" for commenting on her son's videos that were critical of the Tajik government.

Her lawyers said they will appeal the court's ruling.

Domestic and international rights groups have for years criticized authoritarian leader Emomali Rahmon, who has ruled Tajikistan since 1992, for using the security forces and other levers of power to sideline opponents and suppress dissent.

Mamadjonova was arrested in February after she was summoned to a police station in the town of Vahdat, near Dushanbe.

Her son, Sherzod (aka Abdurahmon) Mamadjonov, who lives in Germany, is known in Tajikistan for a blog criticizing the government for its restrictive policies toward practicing Muslims.

He said earlier that his mother had been summoned by the police several times, where they ordered her to persuade her son to return to Tajikistan.

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