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Tajik Activists Jailed For Ties To Banned Opposition Group

DUSHANBE -- Two Tajik activists have been imprisoned for ties with a banned political opposition group.

A Dushanbe court on April 9 found Mahmadali Jobirov and Muhammadrizo Shamszoda guilty of organizing activities of Group 24, a which was banned in October after being labelled an extremist group.

The court sentenced them to three and a half years and three years in prison, respectively.

Last month, three people were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 16 1/2 to 17 1/2 years after being convicted of having ties with the banned group.

Group 24 was founded by fugitive tycoon Umarali Quvatov, who was shot dead in Turkey on March 5.

Opponents of President Emomali Rahmon who live abroad say they believe Quvatov's killing was orchestrated by Tajik authorities.