DUSHANBE, July 6, 2015, Asia-Plus – Ferghana News reported on July 4 that the first verdict for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) recruitment has been issued in Tajikistan.

Ferghana News cited Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service as reporting that a court in Khatlon’s Shahritous district issued the first verdict in a case of recruiting young men to join the ranks of the so-called Islamic State on June 30.  The court sentenced Hussein Odinamahmadov, 30, to 18 years of imprisonment under the provisions of Article 401 of the country’s crime code (Illegal engagement and participation of Tajik citizens and stateless persons in armed units, conflicts or military theatres in foreign countries).

Tajik security services reportedly apprehended a recruiter at the Dushanbe airport upon the return of said suspect from Moscow in March 2015; the suspect had been based in the Russian capital lately.  The tasks Mr. Odinamahmadov, also known as Qori Hussein, assumed included delivering mercenaries to Turkey.  The trial established that Qari Hussein was involved in the recruitment and sending three Tajik citizens—Farrukh Zohirov, Dilovar Qarakhonov and Parviz Nabiyev—to the civil war in Syria. Mr. Odinamahmadov purchased tickets for them to Turkey; upon arrival there, they were taken to a local mosque where they allegedly underwent a 50-day special training.

Lawyer Tolib Ortiqov, a representative for Mr. Odinamahmadov, declared the court ruling is “unjust” in his client’s case and stated he was planning to appeal against the ruling at a regional court.  “Eighteen years is too much for a person with four underage children.”

At the same time, the court relieved Mr. Nabiyev of penalty for changing his mind to travel to Syria and returning from Turkey.  Taking the recruited person’s repentance into consideration, the judge released him from penalty immediately in the courtroom.  According to Mr. Nabiyev, the fate of his three other friends, who also were to travel to Syria, remains unknown.  He maintains that the Tajik youth in Moscow are recruited with the help of video clips on “holy jihad.”