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Tajik Opposition Lawyer Sentenced To Nine Years In Prison

DUSHANBE -- A lawyer and opposition politician has been sentenced to nine years in prison after being convicted of taking a bribe.

A court in the capital, Dushanbe, convicted and sentenced Shuhrat Qudratov on January 13.

Qudratov is a leader of opposition Social Democratic Party of Tajikistan, which included his name on its list of candidates for March 1 parliamentary election despite his being held in pretrial detention.

Qudratov was detained in July.

He is a lawyer for Zayd Saidov, a businessman and leader of the unregistered opposition party New Tajikistan who was sentenced to 26 years in jail in December 2013 for financial fraud, polygamy, and sexual relations with a minor.

Saidov's lawyers, including Quratov, have denied the charges and claim they are politically motivated.