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Tajik Opposition Lawyer Released From Prison After Serving Term

Shuhrat Qudratov (file photo)
Shuhrat Qudratov (file photo)

DUSHANBE -- A lawyer and opposition politician in Tajikistan has been released from prison after serving nearly four years on bribe-taking charges that he and his supporters have called politically motivated.

Shuhrat Qudratov's relatives told RFE/RL on August 24 that he is currently at home but does not want to talk to journalists because he needs rest.

A court in Dushanbe convicted and sentenced Shuhrat Qudratov to nine years in prison in January 2015.

Tajikistan's Supreme Court later shortened his prison term to three years and eight months.

Qudratov is a leader of the opposition Social Democratic Party of Tajikistan.

As an attorney, he defended Zayd Saidov, a businessman and leader of the unregistered opposition party New Tajikistan who was sentenced in December 2013 to 26 years in prison on charges of financial fraud, polygamy, and sexual relations with a minor.

Saidov's lawyers, including Qudratov, say those charges were also politically motivated.

International human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, have urged Tajik authorities to "immediately and unconditionally release" several imprisoned lawyers convicted on what rights activists say were politically motivated charges.