Tajik Court Orders Two-Month Custody For Two Detained Bloggers

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DUSHANBE -- A Tajik court has ordered pretrial detention of two months for two popular bloggers known for their reports criticizing the authorities detained recently in the capital, Dushanbe.

Abdullo Ghurbati and Daleri Imomali were remanded in custody for two months after two separate hearings held in secret over the weekend.

Ghurbati's detention was previously reported.

The bloggers were detained on June 15 after being summoned by police for questioning.

The cases against the two bloggers have been condemned by international free-press campaigners.

Ghurbati is accused of beating a police officer at the Shohmansur police station, a charge that could carry a fine or a two-year prison sentence.

Imomali was charged with illegal entrepreneurship and premeditated false denunciation.

The two have denied the accusations and pleaded not guilty.

The bloggers' arrests last week came after an outcry by human rights advocates and media groups over an attack on journalists from RFE/RL's Tajik Service and Current Time last month.

Tajik authorities have launched a probe into the incident.

President Emomali Rahmon has been criticized by international human rights groups for years over his disregard for independent media, religious freedoms, civil society, and political pluralism in the tightly controlled former Soviet republic.

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