A court in Dushanbe’s Ismoili Somoni district sentenced the mixed-martial-arts (MMA) fighter from the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO), Chorshanbe Chorshanbiyev, to 8 ½ years in prison on May 13.  The trail took place Dushanbe’s pretrial detention facility.

Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service, known locally as Radio Ozodi, says he was found guilty of public calls for forced change of Tajikistan’s constitutional order through Internet.

A prosecutor in the trial of Chorshanbe Chorshanbiyev asked the court to sentence Chorshanbiyev to a ten-year prison term.

The defendant reportedly stated in his speech stated that he did not agree with the court’s verdict.   

Recall, Radio Liberty’ Tajik Service reported on March 30 that expert Yelizaveta Koltunova of the Institute of Linguistics and Journalism in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod testified that Chorshanbiyev's statement did not contain any “psychosocial or linguistic elements of calls for violence, including disruption of the foundations of the society and state.”

The court, however, ordered new linguistic forensics into a video statement by Chorshanbe Chorshanbiyev.   

The charge against the athlete and blogger stems from a video statement he made in the wake of violent protests in GBAO’s capital, Khorog, which broke out in November 2021 after security forces killed a local man wanted on charges of kidnapping.

In his video statement, Chorshanbiyev condemned the actions of security forces that led to the death of the man and called on Tajiks "and all the peoples of the country to rise against injustice, unjust deaths of innocent people."

Chorshanbe Chorshanbiyev, 26, a Tajik national, was deported late last year from Russia where he had lived for many years, after he was caught speeding by Moscow police.  Upon arrival in Tajikistan on December 30, however, he was taken into custody.  This sequence of events has sparked suspicions that the deportation was effected at the request of the Tajik authorities.