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Lengthy Prison Terms Handed To Inmates In Deadly Tajik Prison Riot

A view of the prison in Vahdat (file photo)
A view of the prison in Vahdat (file photo)

DUSHANBE -- Twenty-eight inmates in Tajikistan have been handed lengthy prison terms for their roles in a deadly prison riot in May.

Supreme Court officials told RFE/RL on December 12 that the men were found guilty of murder, terrorism, extremism, and other serious crimes and sentenced to prison terms between 19 years and 29 years.

The exact date of the sentencing was not given as the case was classified and the trial was held behind closed doors.

Some lawyers of the convicted inmates confirmed to RFE/RL that their clients had been sentenced, but also refused to give any details, saying they signed a nondisclosure agreement.

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

It was the second deadly prison riot in Tajikistan in a six-month period.

In November 2018, a similar riot was violently suppressed in a prison in the northern city of Khujand.

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

In August, a court sentenced three inmates to life in prison and 30 others to prison terms of between 14 and 24 years for their roles in that riot.

The Islamic State extremist organization claimed responsibility for both riots.