Jailed Tajik Lawyer’s Brother Gets Four Years In Prison On Charges Relatives Call Ungrounded

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BOKHTAR, Tajikistan-- A brother of jailed Tajik lawyer Saidnuriddin Shamsiddinov has been sentenced to four years in prison on charges that he rejects.

Bahovaddin Shamsiddinov's relatives told RFE/RL on January 19 that he was found guilty of allegedly being associated with the banned Group 24 movement, fraud, illegal land sales, and the spreading of false information. According to them, Shamsiddinov pleaded not guilty and called all the charges "slander."

Officials from the Vakhsh district court confirmed to RFE/RL that Bahovaddin Shamsiddinov was sentenced to four years in prison on January 19.

The exiled spokesman of Group 24, Ubaidullo Saidi, told RFE/RL that Shamsiddinov had nothing to do with the opposition movement.

Bahovaddin Shamsiddinov's brother, a noted lawyer and outspoken government critic, was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison in December 2020 after a court in Khatlon found him guilty of fraud, illegal land sales, and spreading false information.

Saidnuriddin Shamsiddinov also rejected all the charges, saying the case was politically motivated as retaliation for his open criticism of officials.

In late 2021, Shamsiddinov's sentence was extended by eight months after a court found him guilty of having links with Group 24, which he also rejected.

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 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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