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Tajikistan Sentences Kyrgyz Citizen For Spying

DUSHANBE -- A Tajik court has convicted Kyrgyz citizen Muhammadi Salimzoda, who was born in Tajikistan, of spying for Kyrgyzstan and sentenced him to 29 years in prison, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Judge Nasim Hasanov said the trial was held behind closed doors because state secrets were discussed.

Salimzoda's daughter, Shoira Salimzoda, says her father did not have access to a lawyer during the five-month investigation and was offered one only after he pled guilty to the charges.

She says that her father came to Tajikistan in August for her wedding and that the investigation of him only found one text message that he sent from Tajikistan to Kyrgyzstan and said that the situation in the country is unstable.

Shoira Salimzoda says her family will appeal the court decision.

Kyrgyzstan's counsel to Tajikistan, Ernisbek Abdulloev, says that an embassy representative is following the case but will react only when the embassy receives official court papers.

Salimzoda's relatives say he was a security-service officer in Tajikistan until he moved to Kyrgyzstan in 1992.

A Kyrgyz Defense Ministry spokesman has confirmed that Salimzoda worked at the ministry until 2000 and then retired.