Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service says prosecutors in Khatlon province are seeking an additional seven years in prison for a jailed lawyer on charges of having links with an extremist group.

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 illegal land sales and the spreading of false information.

Saidnouriddin and his relatives have rejected the charges, calling them retaliation for Shamsiddinov's open criticism of officials. 

In April this year, a new probe was reportedly launched against Shamsiddinov on the charge of having ties to the banned political organization Group 24, which has been labeled as extremist in Tajikistan.

A court official in the southern city of Bokhtar told RFE/RL’s Tajik Service on November 23 that prosecutors asked the court last week to add seven years to his current prison term.  The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the case.

According to the court official, the verdict on that case had been initially scheduled to be pronounced on November 22, but was delayed after the prosecutor fell ill.  The verdict will now be handed down at an unspecified date.

Shamsiddinov's lawyer, Faizi Oli, told RFE/RL in June that his client had nothing to do with Group 24 and has never had any contacts 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 found the group extremist and banned it from the country  after the organization called on Tajiks to participate in antigovernment protests in Dushanbe in 2014.

In February 2019, former members of Group 24 applied to the Supreme Court of Tajikistan with request to remove the organization from the extremist organizations list because it does not pose threat to Tajikistan’s security anymore.  The appeal has been signed by former members of Group 24 Mehrubon Sattorov, Fayzullojon Safarov, Oyatullo Gilyaev, Sharifjon Sultonov, Ghiyosiddin Ihsomov, Shokir Davlatov and Mahmadyusuf Sharipov.  The appeal was posted by Mehrubon Sattorov on his Facebook page.