DUSHANBE -- The Tajik Journalists' Union has condemned the sentencing of a Tajik journalist to 11 years in jail for blackmailing and extorting money from a local woman.
The Tajik Supreme Court announced on October 29 that Mahmadyusuf Ismoilov, a journalist in the northern Asht district, had been found guilty. He has denied any wrongdoing, saying the case against him was retaliation by local authorities, whom he criticized in independent media this year despite being banned from reporting.
Ismoilov's lawyer told RFE/RL that he will appeal the sentence.
In 2011, Ismoilov was found guilty in a libel case and subsequently fined and barred from reporting for three years. The chairman of the National Association of Independent Journalists of Tajikistan, Nuriddin Karshiboev, told RFE/RL that he believes Ismoilov’s imprisonment violates principles of free expression.