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One of the men convicted, Buzurgmehr Yorov (pictured), is a lawyer who has represented members of the banned Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan. (file photo)

Two human rights lawyers in Tajikistan have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms on charges of issuing public calls for the overthrow of the government and inciting social unrest.

The Dushanbe City Court on October 6 found Buzurgmehr Yorov and Nuriddin Mahkamov guilty of the charges -- sentencing Yorov to 23 years and Mahkamov to 21 years in prison.

Yorov and Mahkamov pleaded not guilty and called their trial politically motivated.

Yorov was a lawyer for 13 members and leaders of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, a group that was banned in 2015 as a terrorist organization.

Dozens of party members have been arrested.

Yorov and Mahkamov are among at least five human rights attorneys who have been targeted by authorities in Tajikistan in connection with their work, prompting the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch and other rights groups to call for their immediate and unconditional release.

A Pakistani man shows the place where a teenage girl was burnt alive by her mother in Lahore, reportedly for marrying someone against her parent's wishes. Until now, a loophole in the law often allowed the perpetrators of such "honor killings" to go free.

Pakistani lawmakers have passed a law that increases the penalty for so-called "honor killings" and closes a loophole that often allowed killers to go free.

The new law imposes a 25-year mandatory prison sentence against anyone convicted of killing "in the name of honor" and it no longer allows family members to forgive such killers.

The law allows forgiveness only when a so-called "honor" killer is sentenced to death.

But if killers who face the death penalty are forgiven by relatives, they still must serve 25 years in prison.

The legislation was passed on October 6 after a four-hour debate in a joint session of the national parliament.

Some of the loudest opposition came from hard-line Islamist lawmakers.

They argued that Pakistan's Islamic Ideology Council, a body of conservative Muslim clerics, should offer their views before the bill becomes law.

But supporters of the bill refused, saying the council routinely vetoes legislation aimed at protecting women.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and UPI

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