The European Union Delegation to Tajikistan has released a statement on the sentencing of Tajik human rights lawyer, Mr. Buzurgmehr Yorov.  The European Union Delegation reportedly issued the following statement on March 3 in agreement with the EU Heads of Mission in Tajikistan.

“According to media reports, the Supreme Court of Tajikistan upheld the previous court verdict of a 23-year-long prison term for Tajik human rights lawyer Mr. Buzurgmehr Yorov.

“The EU draws attention to the overall lack of transparency of the court proceedings and to the fact that Mr. Yorov’s right to a fair trial has been violated, which is not in line with Tajikistan’s obligations under international law. Unfortunately, notwithstanding earlier reassurances given by the Tajik authorities, EU representatives were not permitted to observe the trial either.

“The EU calls upon the Tajik authorities to abide fully by the country's commitments to guarantee the fundamental freedoms and uphold the rule of law.”

Recall, Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service reported on January 6 that a court in Tajikistan has extended the prison term handed down to Buzurgmehr Yorov.  

In October, the Dushanbe City Court found Buzurgmehr Yorov guilty on charges of issuing public calls for the overthrow of the government and inciting social unrest.  He was sentenced to 23 years in prison. The court's decision on January 6 extends his term to 26 years, according to RFE/RL’s Tajik Service.

Yorov pleaded not guilty and called his trial politically motivated.

Yorov was a lawyer of 13 members and leaders of the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), a group that was banned in 2015 as a terrorist organization.

Dozens of party members have been arrested.

Yorov is among at least five human rights attorneys who have been targeted by authorities in Tajikistan in connection with their work, prompting the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch and other rights groups to call for their immediate and unconditional release.