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Tajik Court Sentences Former Guantanamo Detainees

Former Guantanamo inmates Muqit Vohidov and Rukniddin Sharopov in a Dushanbe court during their trial (RFE/RL) DUSHANBE, August 17, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Two Tajik citizens who spent six years at the U.S. Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba were sentenced to 17 years in prison by the Tajik Supreme Court today, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reported.

Muqit Vohidov and Rukniddin Sharopov were found guilty of illegally crossing the border and being members of a banned extremist group.

Supreme Court Judge Musammir Uroqov said that investigations carried out in Vohidov and Sharopov's native Isfara region proved that both men have been involved with the banned Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).

Uroqov said Vohidon and Sharopov had illegally crossed the Tajik border into Afghanistan in early 2001 and joined IMU fighters.

The two men were eventually arrested by Afghan forces, who turned them over to the U.S.-led coalition. Both of them were subsequently sent to Guantanamo Bay.

The Supreme Court sentenced the former Guantanamo inmates to a lengthy period in labor camps.

"Vohidov Muqit Valikhonovisch and Sharopov Rukniddin Faiziddinovich -- after reducing their punishment -- are sentenced to a total of 17 years in high-security penal colonies," Uroqov said.

Valiev and Sharopov were released from Guantanamo Bay in March and were handed over to Tajikistan's security services.

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