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Four Jailed For Life Over Tajik Jailbreak

DUSHANBE -- A court in Tajikistan has jailed four men for life in connection with a mass jailbreak last August that left several prison guards dead, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Three other men were sentenced to 30 years in prison for their part in the escape from the National Security Committee's top-security prison in Dushanbe.

The sentences were handed down by the Supreme Court's military branch on May 3 and officially confirmed on May 4.

The seven were among 25 prisoners who broke out of the prison on the night of August 23, killing four guards.

The court also found three other men, including Sayriddin Azizov, the former commander of opposition forces in the Rasht region, guilty of helping the escapees reach safe locations. Their sentences were not immediately made public.

Those jailed for 30 years include Abdurasul Mirzoev, the brother of imprisoned former chief of the presidential guard, Ghaffor Mirzoev.

MIrzoev's lawyer, Buzurgmehr Yorov, said he would appeal the sentence.

Mirzoev's sister Oisha told RFE/RL today that his family would appeal to Tajik President Emomali Rahmon for a pardon.

The escaped prisoners -- citizens of Russia, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan -- had mostly been jailed for terrorist activities and participating in an armed revolt in Tavildara province in 2009.

The escape is believed to have been masterminded by former Guantanamo prisoner Ibrohim Nasriddionov. It precipitated the resignation of National Security Committee Chairman Khayriddin Abdurahimov and three of his deputies.

Since then, 14 fugitives have been recaptured, including Nasriddionov. Three of the four Afghans and three Tajiks were apprehended in Afghanistan.

Four escaped prisoners have been killed; the remaining seven, including at least three Russian citizens, remain at large.