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Alleged Associates Of Slain Tajik Opposition Leader Face Lengthy Jail Terms

DUSHANBE -- Prosecutors in Tajikistan recommended on March 12 that two alleged members of an opposition group to be sentenced to 18 years in jail.

Firdavs Muhiddinov and Farhod Karimov are on trial on charges of insulting President Emomali Rahmon, being members of banned opposition movement Group 24, and plotting to overthrow the government.

Karimov was arrested last year after police searched his computer and found photos which they said "insulted" Rahmon. Muhiddinov was detained for appearing in an online video of a gathering by Tajik migrant workers in Russia, in which he called on Rahmon to resign.

Both men denied any association with Group 24, which was founded by fugitive tycoon Umarali Quvatov.

The group was banned in October, when the government labelled it as an extremist group. Quvatov was shot dead in Istanbul on March 5, by an unknown assailant.

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