Prosecutor has called for lengthy prison sentences against two human rights lawyers.

A prosecutor in the trial of Buzurgmehr Yorov, the lawyer who was working on the case of several leading members and activists of the banned Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), and Nouriddin Mahkamov, the lawyer who was going to represent Mahkamov but he was refused defense warrant, asked the court on September 19 to sentence Buzurgmehr Yorov to a 25-year prison and Nouriddin Mahkamov to a 23-year prison term.

Prosecutor Rustam Taqdirzoda accused Buzurgmehr Yorov of inciting regional and religious enmity, public calls for the forcible overthrow of or change to the constitutional order in Tajikistan, public calls for carrying out extremist activity, fraud and document forgery.

Nouriddin Mahkamov faces charges of inciting regional and religious enmity, fraud, public calls for the forcible overthrow of or change to the constitutional order in Tajikistan and public calls for carrying out extremist activity. 

Recall that Buzurgmehr Yorov, who is the head of the law firm Sipar, was arrested on September 29, 2015 and Nouriddin Mahkamov, who is also from the Sipar law firm, was arrested in late October 2015.

Their case moved to a court on April 5 and it has been classified as “secret.”  The trial began on May 5.

International human rights groups say Yorov was arrested in retaliation for representing 13 members of the opposition Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan (IRPT).  The government banned the party in August last year and declared it a terrorist organization on September 29, 2015.

In a statement released on October 7, 2015, six international human rights groups urged the Tajik authorities to release or present credible and internationally recognizable charges against Buzurgmehr Yorov and Nouriddin Mahkamov.

Yorov is at least the fourth Tajik lawyer authorities have arrested, imprisoned on politically motivated charges, or subjected to serious harassment in less than two years, the statement said.

The human rights groups urging Tajikistan to act are Amnesty International, the Paris Bar, Association for Human Rights in Central Asia, Human Rights Watch, the International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR), and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.

At the time of his arrest, Yorov had just begun to represent 13 members of the IRPT, whom authorities arrested on various charges on September 16.  In an interview with a journalist published the day he was arrested, Yorov said that one client, Umarali Hisaynov, a deputy party leader, told him that officers from the Police Unit for Combating Organized Crime had beaten him following his arrest.

Another lawyer on trial with Yorov is Nouriddin Mahkamov, also from the Sipar law firm and also facing charges of fraud, the statement said.

Meanwhile, Buzurgmehr Yoro’s brother, Jam shed Yorov, who was representing the IRPT deputy leader Mahmadali Hayit in the trial, was arrested was arrested on August 22, 2016 and charged with “divulging state secrets.”  On August 26, a court in Dushanbe’s Firdavsi district ordered his remand in pretrial detention.  If convicted he is facing up to 10 years in prison.