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Tajiks Jailed For Raising IS Banner In Public

NORAK, Tajikistan -- Thirteen residents of the Tajik city of Norak have been jailed for raising the Islamic State (IS) group's flag in a public place.

Interior Ministry officials told RFE/RL on February 18 that a court in Norak found the 13 men guilty of publicly calling for extremist activities to overthrow the government and organizing a criminal group.

The men were sentenced to prison terms between 10 and 27 years.

The youngest in the group is 21, the oldest 74.

The convicted were arrested in August after they raised a black flag looking similar to the one known as the IS flag in downtown Norak.

In August, seven men raised a similar flag in Tajikistan's southwestern Shahrtuz district. They were sentenced in December to prison terms between seven and 27 years.

Tajik authorities say some 500 Tajik nationals are fighting alongside IS militants in Syria and Iraq.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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