Tajikistan court jails 71-year old over Islamic State links

Another six members of the same family were also jailed on related charges.

A court in northern Tajikistan has sentenced a 71-year old woman to 12 years in jail on charges of links to the Islamic State group.

The court in the Sughd region on April 18 also jailed another six members of Mavlyuda Nasriddinova’s family, four of them women, on related charges.

Asia-Plus newspaper cited prosecutors as saying the group, all of them natives of a district near the town of Isfara, were plotting to travel to Syria through Turkey.

A 27-person-strong group from the family allegedly traveled to Almaty, in Kazakhstan, in March 2017 and spent two months there. Later, they moved to Turkey, where they remained for four months.

At the end of the year, 18 people from the group managed to cross the border and reach the Syrian city of Idlib. Another nine members of the family were intercepted by Turkish authorities and handed over to Tajikistan. Of those who were caught, one was underage and another was gravely ill, so they were accordingly released from criminal liability.

RFE/RL’s Tajik service, Radio Ozodi, reported that all seven defendants declined legal assistance and pled guilty. 

According to the Interior Ministry, between 2012 and mid-2016, at least 1,094 Tajik nationals joined the Islamic State group — among them were around 200 women. Authorities claim that around four-fifth of the women only made the trip to Syria to be with their spouses.

While this case might be an extreme instance of alleged mass family recruitment, there are reported precedents in Tajikistan.

One story was told by Radio Ozodi. In 2013, three sons of Sharif Sherbetov, a 60-year-old resident of the Khatlon region, in the south of the country, left for Russia to find jobs. While there, they were recruited into the ranks of the Islamic State group and then traveled to Syria. Later, the oldest son, Asadullo, brought over his wife and two children.

In 2015, Sherbetov’s wife, two more daughters-in-law and another pair of children decided to try and join the rest of family. They were detained on the Tajik-Kyrgyz border as they were heading for Bishkek on their way to Turkey. The three adult women were sentenced to five years in jail apiece in 2016.

Tajikistan court jails 71-year old over Islamic State links

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