A prominent Tajik actor has been sentenced to 15 years in prison after being found guilty of extortion, two sources familiar with the case told RFE/RL on June 10.
An official at the Dushanbe court where the actor was tried said that Behruz Saeed, 25, had his prison sentence cut by three years under an amnesty.
The official didn't provide further details.
According to an official at the state anti-corruption agency, Saeed was arrested in April and his sentence was delivered on June 8.
The official said the actor, pretending to be Rustam Emomali, the eldest son of the country’s president who is the mayor of Dushanbe, had contacted two businessmen and asked them to immediately pay back money they owed to one of his friends.
The unidentified businessmen allegedly owed more than $100,000 in total to Saeed’s friend.
Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media.
A friend of Saeed’s family said he was aware of the case.
“He may have done it – through the phone – because of his naivety and a lack of life experience, but his actions still can’t justify such a harsh sentence,” the friend said on condition of anonymity.
Saeed rose to fame in Tajikistan at the age of seven when he starred in a Tajik television series in which he played a boy whose father had gone to Russia for work.
Tajik Actor Sentenced To 15 Years In Prison For Extortion