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Noted Tajik Human Rights Defender Sentenced To Nine Years In Prison

Tajik rights defender Izzat Amon (file photo)

DUSHANBE -- The Dushanbe City Court has sentenced well-known Tajik human rights defender, Izzat Amon, to nine years in prison on fraud charges.

Amon's lawyer, Saiburhon Sharifov, told RFE/RL that his client was handed the sentence on October 19.

Sharifov called the court's decision illegal, adding that his client was eligible for a pardon under the recent mass amnesty devoted to the 30th anniversary of the Central Asian nation's independence.

Sharif said the sentence will be appealed.

For years Amon led the Center for Tajiks in Moscow before he was deprived of Russian citizenship and forced to return to Dushanbe in March at the request of Tajik authorities, who accused the activist of financial fraud.

Amon's supporters and relatives have dismissed the charges as politically motivated.

Amon’s nonprofit organization in Moscow has helped Tajik migrant workers find jobs, obtain work and residency permits, and get legal advice.