Jailed known human rights lawyer Buzurgmehr Yorov, who is serving a 28-year jail term, yesterday went on trial on a new charge of a large-scale fraud committed with a particularly dangerous recidivism (Article 247 (4) of Tajikistan’s Penal Code) brought against him.

The charge stems from a lawsuit filed by an inmate Hasan Hasanov claiming that Buzurgmehr Yorov allegedly took more than 4,000 US dollars in exchange for legal assistance to help him get released but in reality did nothing.  Hasan Hasanov has been serving his jail term together with Buzurgmehr Yorov in the Vahdat-based penal colony.

Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service, known as Radio Ozodi, says Yorov denies he received any money from the man. 

The trial is being held at Dushanbe-based pretrial detention facility # 1.  The mobile hearing is reportedly being conducted by the Vahdat city court.

If convicted, Buzurgmehr Yorov could have an additional 12 years added to his term in prison. 

Recall, materials on the fourth criminal proceedings instituted against Buzurgmehr Yorov moved to a court last month.  

The new criminal proceedings instituted against Buzurgmehr Yorov are reportedly classified as ‘secret’.  

Buzurgmehr Yorov, 52, was a lawyer for 13 jailed members and leaders of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), which was labeled a terrorist organization and outlawed in 2015.

In October 2016, Yorov was sentenced to 23 years in prison after a court convicted him of calling for the government's overthrow and inciting social unrest.

The U.S. State Department and rights groups have condemned Yorov's arrest.

Later, his prison term was extended to 28 years after he was found guilty of contempt of court and insulting a government official.

In September 2019, Buzurgmehr Yorov was awarded the Faiziniso Vohidova Human Rights Prize for his contribution to the development of democratic institutions and civil rights in Tajikistan. The award, established by the Association of Central Asian Migrants in Europe, was handed to Yorov's brother Jamshed Yorov in Warsaw at the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, on September 18.

In February 2020, Buzurgmehr Yorov was awarded annual Homo Homini prize of the Prague-based NGO People in Need for his “commitment to defending basic human rights and to assure a fair trial to all citizens” of his country.

In October 2021, Buzurgmehr Yorov’s prison sentence was reduced by four years under amnesty.