Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service reported on March 7that a noted Tajik rights defender who was sentenced to nine years in prison in October on fraud charges that he has rejected faces an additional fraud charge.

Izzat Amon's relatives told RFE/RL on March 7 that the activist may face up to 12 years in prison if found guilty.

A source within the Interior Ministry confirmed to RFE/RL that a resident of the southern city of Bokhtar had filed a lawsuit against Amon, accusing the rights defender of stealing US$10,000 through an unspecified fraudulent action.

Amon's relatives say the case is fabricated.

Amon led the Center for Tajiks in Moscow for many years before he was deprived of Russian citizenship and forced to return to Dushanbe in March last year at the request of Tajik authorities, who accused the activist of financial fraud.

On October 19, 2021, the Dushanbe city court sentenced Izzat Amon to nine years in prison. This was announced by his lawyer Saidburhon Sharipov.

According to him, Izzat Amon, in his closing speech, pleaded guilty, expressed regret and asked to be pardoned according to the amnesty, stating that he compensated all damages according to the charge.

“When sentencing, the court violated the laws of the Republic of Tajikistan, including Article 49 of the Penal Code and Article 5 of the “Amnesty Law”.  This sentence is illegal. When the law comes into force, the court must do justice.  The amnesty law should have been applied to my client,” Sharipov said.

The court's ruling is identical to the prosecution's earlier demand.  On September 27, a prosecutor in the trial of Izzat Amon asked the Dushanbe city court to sentence Amon to a 9-year prison term.

Amon’s defense lawyer, Saidburhon Sharipov, said that the prosecutor's request was based on the fact that they could not find the last victim and pay him compensation.

Amon's supporters and relatives dismissed the charges as politically motivated before he was convicted and sentenced in October.

RFE/RL’s Tajik Service says Amon’s nonprofit organization in Moscow has helped Tajik migrant workers find jobs, obtain work and residency permits, and get legal advice.