Jailed lawyer Saidnouriddin Shamsiddinov, imprisoned on fraud charges he says were politically motivated, faces new charges of having links with an extremist group, Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service reported on June 8.

Saidnouriddin Shamsiddinov, a 41-year-old attorney and former bailiff who was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison in December 2020 after a Vakhsh court found him guilty of seven crimes, including the illegal sale of land, fraud, and purposefully spreading false information, now is charged with having ties to the banned political organization Group 24, which has been declared an extremist group.

An investigator with the Khatlon regional prosecutor's office told RFE/RL on June 7 that a new probe had been launched against Shamsiddinov in mid-April but he did not provide any details.

If convicted of the charge, Shamsiddinov faces up to 10 years in prison.

Shamsiddinov's relatives reportedly reject the charges and verdict and say the real reason for Shamsiddinov's imprisonment was his criticism about prosecutors and judges in posts on social networks.

Shamsiddinov's lawyer, Faizi Oli, told RFE/RL that his client had nothing to do with Group 24 and had never had any contact with the banned organization.

Group 24 was founded by well-known businessman and opposition politician Umarali Quvatov in 2012.

In 2014, Tajikistan's Supreme Court declared the group extremist and banned it from the Central Asian country.  Dozens of the group's members and supporters have been arrested and many of them sentenced to lengthy prison terms.