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Tajikistan Extends Lawyer’s Long Prison Sentence For Quoting Poet

A jailed lawyer in Tajikistan has had his lengthy sentence extended by two years for contempt of court for quoting the words of an 11th century Persian philosopher and poet during his original trial.

The ruling handed down on March 16 means Buzurgmehr Yorov now faces 25 years in jail. He was sentenced in October on what his supporters say were trumped-up charges of fraud and inciting hatred and extremism, among other offenses.

Rights advocates argue Yorov was targeted for reprisal because he was one of the few lawyers willing to take up the case of arrested members of the now-banned opposition Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT).

During hearings at his trial in October, Yorov quoted Avicenna to say that “society is spoiled by a few ignorant people who believe themselves the wisest; those that would make infidels of all who do not abide by their wishes.” The court was sufficiently offended by the words to file a criminal case of charges of contempt and offending a state representative.

And that isn’t all.

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Tajikistan Extends Lawyer’s Long Prison Sentence For Quoting Poet

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