KHUJAND, October 15, 2011, Asia-Plus -- A regional court has sentenced four activists of the outlawed religious extremist Hizb ut-Tahrir group – Abdunabi Abdulqodirov, 46, Yahyokhon Rahmonkhoujayev, 26, Talat Mavlonov, 23, and Ibrohimbek Mahmoudov, 30 -- to long jail terms.

The Sughd regional court on October 14 ruled that Abdulqodirov and Rahmonkhoujayev be given jail term of 20 years each, while Mavlonov and Mahmoudov were sentenced to 22 years imprison each.  The sentence followed their conviction on charges of organization of a criminal grouping, incitement of ethnic, racial, regional or religious enmity, participation in an extremist organization, as well as public calls for the forcible overthrow of or change to the constitutional order in Tajikistan.

The court also ruled that they should serve their jail terms in a high-security penal colony.  They are also barred from participating in any religious organization.

We will recall that BBC reporter Urunboy Usmonov was in the dock along with them.  Usmonov sentenced to three years imprisonment -- but set free under an amnesty law.