Tajikistani lawyer Buzurgmekhr Yorov was sentenced on 6 October by the Dushanbe City Court to 23 years in a “strict regime prison colony”. His co-defendant, lawyer Nuriddin Makhkamov was also sentenced on 6 October on similar charges to 21 years in prison. The charges against them are politically motivated and intended as a reprisal for acting as defence lawyers of members of the banned Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT).
Buzurgmekhr Yorov had been in pre-trial detention since his arrest by officers of the Police Unit for Combating Organised Crime on 28 September 2015. At the time, he was representing some of the 14 high-ranking members of the IRPT who had been arrested on 16-17 September 2015. Buzurgmekhr Yorov was initially charged with fraud and forgery, which were supposedly unrelated to the IRPT. However, during his arrest, police seized documents relating to the case against his IRPT clients, which violated confidentiality of the lawyer-client relationship. In December 2015, additional “extremism”-related charges were brought against him. Buzurgmekhr Yorov has denied any wrongdoing, insisting he was "not an extremist, but a lawyer”. In his final word on 3 October he pleaded not guilty. According to Buzurgmekhr Yorov’s relatives, he will be appealing the sentence.
Nuriddin Makhkamov, was acting as defence counsel for one of the IRPT members in the same case and was arrested in October 2015.
Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:
- Expressing concern that the criminal prosecution of Buzurgmekhr Yorov and Nuriddin Makhkamov has been politically motivated;
- Urging the authorities to ensure that the cases against Buzurgmekhr Yorov and Nuriddin Makhkamov are reviewed in line with Tajikistan’s human rights obligations, and that international fair trial standards are fully upheld when their appeal is heard;
- Calling on them to ensure that all lawyers in Tajikistan are able to perform their professional duties without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference in accordance with the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.
President of Tajikistan
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Dushanbe 734023, Tajikistan
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