Additional 10 years have been added to a jail term of known human rights lawyer Buzurgmehr Yorov after he was found guilty of a large-scale fraud.

A court of Vahdat Township sentenced Buzurgmehr Yorov to additional ten years in prison on July 10.

Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service, known locally as Radio Ozodi, reported on July 12 that the sentence followed his conviction on charges of a large-scale fraud.

The trial as reportedly held behind closed door at Dushanbe-based pretrial detention facility No 1.

According to Radio Ozodi, Buzurgmehr’s relatives and friends were not allowed to attend the announcement of the sentence.  

Buzurgmehr’s brother, Jamshed Yorov, told Radio Ozodi that the first two years of his new jail term Buzurgmehr will serve in a closed-type prison and the remaining eight years he will serve in a high-security penal colony in Yovon.  

Buzurgmehr Yorov, who is serving a 28-year jail term, went on trial on June 13 on a new charge of a large-scale fraud committed with a particularly dangerous recidivism (Article 247 (4) of Tajikistan’s Penal Code) brought against him.

The charge stems from a lawsuit filed by an inmate Hasan Hasanov claiming that Buzurgmehr Yorov allegedly took 42,500 somonis in exchange for legal assistance to help him get released but in reality did nothing.  Hasan Hasanov has been serving his jail term together with Buzurgmehr Yorov in the Vahdat-based penal colony.

Buzurgmehr Yorov has denied he received any money from the man

The materials on the fourth criminal proceedings instituted against Buzurgmehr Yorov moved to a court in May.  These criminal proceedings instituted against Buzurgmehr Yorov were classified as ‘secret’.

Buzurgmehr Yorov, 52, was a lawyer for 13 jailed members and leaders of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), which was labeled a terrorist organization and outlawed in 2015.

In October 2016, Yorov was sentenced to 23 years in prison after a court convicted him of calling for the government's overthrow and inciting social unrest.

The U.S. State Department and rights groups have condemned Yorov's arrest.

Later, his prison term was extended to 28 years after he was found guilty of contempt of court and insulting a government official.

In September 2019, Buzurgmehr Yorov was awarded the Faiziniso Vohidova Human Rights Prize for his contribution to the development of democratic institutions and civil rights in Tajikistan. The award, established by the Association of Central Asian Migrants in Europe, was handed to Buzurgmehr’s brother, Jamshed Yorov, in Warsaw at the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, on September 18.

In February 2020, Buzurgmehr Yorov was awarded annual Homo Homini prize of the Prague-based NGO People in Need for his “commitment to defending basic human rights and to assure a fair trial to all citizens” of his country.

In October 2021, Buzurgmehr Yorov’s prison sentence was reduced by four years under amnesty.