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Son Of Jailed Tajik Opposition Leader Given Six Years In Prison

Shaikhmuslihiddin Rizoev has received a six-year prison sentence.
Shaikhmuslihiddin Rizoev has received a six-year prison sentence.

A court in Tajikistan's western city of Hisor has sentenced the son of jailed opposition leader Mahmurod Odinaev to six years in prison.

The Hisor City Court's official told RFE/RL of the decision on condition of anonymity because he said he was not authorized to comment.

The official said on March 1 that the court had found Shaikhmuslihiddin Rizoev guilty of hooliganism and attempted rape and sentenced him to six years. The court made the ruling on February 25.

Officials have not released any detailed information on the case and the trial.

Rizoev's father, Mahmurod Odinaev, a deputy head of the Social Democratic Party, was sentenced on January 28 to 14 years in prison on charges of hooliganism and "calling for extremism."

Mahmurod Odinaev (file photo)
Mahmurod Odinaev (file photo)

Another son of Odinaev, Habibulllo Rizoev, was also convicted of hooliganism and fined 58,000 somonis (more than $5,000) at the time. Both men pleaded not guilty during the trial, rejecting the charges as politically motivated.

Mahmurod Odinaev went missing on November 20 after he asked Dushanbe Mayor Rustam Emomali in a Facebook post to allow him and supporters of the Social Democratic Party -- the only opposition party functioning in Tajikistan -- to stage a demonstration over food-price hikes.

On December 5, the Tajik Prosecutor-General's Office acknowledged that Odinaev had been arrested in Dushanbe.

According to the authorities, he allegedly conducted an act of hooliganism in late October in a military draft office where prosecutors say he confronted officials over the conscription of Rizoev.

That came after the Interior Ministry said in November that Shaikhmuslihiddin Rizoev was charged with hooliganism over his alleged involvement in a brawl.

Odinaev said that unknown attackers had severely beaten his son Shaikhmuslihiddin as part of a pressure campaign that was waged against him for his political activities.

The mother of the Rizoev brothers, Mehrinigor Rizoeva, told RFE/RL that all the charges against her sons were politically motivated and linked to the political activities of their father.

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, who has tightly ruled the former Soviet republic since 1992, has been criticized for cracking down on opposition political groups, rights defenders, and independent journalists.

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