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Military Officials Sent To Jail For Forcibly Enlisting Soldiers

KHUDJAND, Tajikistan -- The Military Commission chief in Tajikistan's Sughd Province and two associates were found guilty today of illegal enrolling five men in the Tajik Army.

They were sentenced to one year of forced labor.

Sughd Province Military Prosecutor Qurbonali Mirzoev told RFE/RL's Tajik Service that the five were college students preparing for their summer exams in June 2008 when they were forced to join the army.

Tajik laws exempt university students from serving in the military.

Many young Tajiks escape mandatory military service by going to Russia as labor migrants, and military officers often "hunt" young men to fill the ranks of the shrinking army.

All five men were allowed to continue their studies.

It is the first case in Tajikistan when officials of a Military Commission were sentenced for forcing people into the army.