A 26-year-old resident of Dushanbe has got a lengthy jail term after a court has found him guilty of terrorism and organizing a cell of the so-called Islamic State terror group in Tajikistan.  Meanwhile, his defense lawyer and relatives do not agree with the sentence.

The Khatlon regional court sentenced Umar Mirzoyev to twenty years in prison on December 1.

The sentence followed his conviction on charges of terrorism, organizing an extremist group, mercenary activity, recruitment of people into a criminal group, public calls for the forcible overthrow of or changes to the constitutional order in Tajikistan, etc.  Umar Mirzoyev will serve his term in a high-security penal colony.

Meanwhile, Mirzoyev’s defense lawyer and his relatives do not agree with the sentence.

“We do not agree with the sentence and appealed to the Supreme Court of Tajikistan,” Sherali Qarakhonov, who has represented Umar Mirzoyev in the court, told Asia-Plus in an interview.  

According to the preliminary investigation, Umar Mirzoyev has masterminded a number of terrorist attacks in Tajikistan.  

“Mirzoyev began his terrorist activity in 2014.  He was recruited through social networks and he began organizing a cell of the Islamic State terror group in Tajikistan in 2015.  He promised four recruited labor migrants monetary reward for carrying out terrorist attacks in Tajikistan, but those labor migrants were detained by Tajik law enforcement authorities and sentenced to different jail terms.  In the course of the preliminary investigation, it has been established that Umar Mirzoyev was  mastermind.  He has been detained by Russian security services and extradited to Tajikistan,” the source noted. 

Meanwhile, Mirzoyev’s defense lawyer says his client has not pleaded guilty.  “Moreover, those four convicts have recanted their testimonies.  Mirzoyev admitted that he had met them two times in Russia but he had not given them any instructions for carrying out terrorist attacks in Tajikistan.  Therefore, we consider the sentence unfair and have appealed to the Supreme Court,” Qarakhonov said.