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Inmates Receive Life Sentences, Lengthy Prison Terms For Deadly Prison Riot In Tajikistan


Tajik authorities publicly acknowledged the riot two weeks after it broke out, saying that 23 inmates and two prison guards were killed in the incident. (file photo)

DUSHANBE -- Three inmates in Tajikistan have been sentenced to life in prison and 30 others received sentences of between 14 and 24 years for their roles in a deadly prison riot in November.

An attorney told RFE/RL on August 13 on condition of anonymity that the men were sentenced in late July, adding that one of the three inmates sentenced to life in prison was Amirali Davlatov, who was found guilty of instigating the riot in the northern city of Khujand in which dozens of people were killed.

Relatives of the men confirmed the sentences to RFE/RL but said they had not received any official documents with information about the trial, despite a law stating they were supposed to be informed within 10 days of the trial, which was held behind closed doors.

Davlatov's wife, Oqilamoh Davlatova, told RFE/RL that her husband could not have incited the riot as he was meeting with her in the prison's short-stay section when the violence broke out on November 7.

“He was completely unaware of what was going on and asked me to bring him winter clothes as he was getting ready for the cold season," Davlatova said.

Rafoat Boboeva told RFE/RL that her son Umedjon Mirzoev, who received an additional lengthy term for his role in the riot, had pleaded guilty after being tortured into a confession.

Maqsuda Sodiqova said that investigators severely beat her son Farhod Sodiqov and broke his nose to make him confess to taking part in the riot.

Earlier in the year, prison warden Faizullo Safarzod was found guilty of abuse of office and negligence, which led to the riot. He was sentenced to four years in prison.

Tajik authorities publicly acknowledged the riot two weeks after it broke out, saying that 23 inmates and two prison guards were killed in the incident.

The Islamic State (IS) extremist group said in a statement that the riot broke out after one of its "soldiers" detained there attacked a prison guard.

The penitentiary -- the high-security prison No. 3/3 -- largely houses inmates convicted on charges related to terrorism, extremism, and other serious crimes.

In May, another prison riot in the Vahdat district, some 15 kilometers east of the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, claimed the lives of three prison guards and 29 inmates, including three opposition politicians.

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