DUSHANBE, July 16, 2015, Asia-Plus -- Ms. Nadezhda Atayeva, the leader of the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia (AHRCA), says Maqsoud Ibrohimov, leader of the Russian-registered organization “Youth for the Revival of Tajikistan,” has been sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Maqsoud Ibrohimov first made headlines in November 2014 when he was attacked by two unidentified assailants in Moscow.

Maqsoud Ibrohimov, 36, is chairman of "Youth for the Revival of Tajikistan" and member of the governing board of the opposition coalition New Tajikistan, which includes Group 24.

Up until December 2014, Maqsoud Ibrohimov was a citizen of Russia who renounced his Tajikistan citizenship in 2004.  He had been living in Russia for 10 years before establishing the movement "Youth for the Revival of Tajikistan" in October 2014.  As part of the New Tajikistan coalition, the movement called for peaceful protests to be held on October 10 in Dushanbe.  Reacting to this, Tajikistan announced the movement illegal on October 7 and requested an extradition of Ibrohimov from Russia. Complying with the request, Russia''s authorities arrested Ibrohimov on October 9 but the Russian court denied Tajikistan''s request and he was freed on October 11, 2014.

A stream of threats reportedly followed this denial of extradition, including threats from Tajik law enforcement services.  This was documented in Ibrohimov''s statement to the Russian police, which refused to register his complaints. On November 26, 2014, Ibrohimov was attacked in Moscow by two persons who left him with 6 knife wounds.  His condition was severe but he survived. In December 2014 Ibrohimov suddenly discovered that the Russian Federation stripped him of his Russian citizenship.

On January 20, 2015, Ibrohimov was arrested by Russian authorities again and immediately extradited to Tajikistan.

Maqsoud Ibrohimov has been accused of being member of Group 24 but he has denied any association with Group 24.

We will recall that the founding leader of Group 24 Umarali Quvvatov once had close ties with President Emomali Rahmon’s relatives but became an opponent.  He fled Tajikistan for Moscow in the summer of 2012.  There he formed an organization called Group 24, which he claims is a new political movement opposed to incumbent President Rahmon.  He was wanted by Dushanbe on fraud charges that he said were politically motivated.

Quvvatov stayed in Russia and the United Arab Emirates before moving to Turkey.  On December 19, 2014, Umarali Quvvatov was arrested in Istanbul for visa violations, but he was released on February 3, 2015.  Umarali Quvvatov was shot dead by unidentified assailant in Istanbul, Turkey on March 5.

Tajikistan''s Supreme Court banned Group 24 on October 9, 2014 following growing government pressure on the opposition group after it used the Internet to call for street protests in the capital, Dushanbe, on October 10.

Supreme Court judge Salomat Hakimova ruled that Group 24 is an extremist organization, and therefore is banned in Tajikistan.  Its website and printed materials were also banned.

In March 2015, three persons were jailed in Tajikistan for alleged association with the Group, receiving sentences ranging from 16½ to 17½ years.  In April 2015, another two persons were sent into prison for 3½ and 3 years for alleged organization of the Group''s activities inside Tajikistan.