Tajik Reporter Jailed for Quoting Muslim Brotherhood Leaders

DUSHANBE — A Tajik court on Thursday sentenced a local journalist to a year in prison over a dissertation in which he quoted the works of Muslim Brotherhood leaders, his lawyer said.

Like several nations in the Middle East that have outlawed the Brotherhood, Tajikistan considers it an extremist organisation and has this year detained dozens of people on charges of being its followers.

Reporter Daler Sharifov was convicted of hate speech, a charge to which he pleaded not guilty, according to lawyer Abdurakhmon Sharifov, who is not related to the defendant.

The charges focused on a dissertation Daler Sharifov published last year which explored Muslim theology and included quotes by Sayyid Qutb, a Brotherhood leader who was executed in 1966, and cleric Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, the Brotherhood’s spiritual leader who now lives in Qatar.

Several rights groups including the Committee to Protect Journalists have called for Sharifov’s release, describing the charges against him as absurd.

Tajik President Imomali Rakhmon’s government tolerates little dissent. In 2015, the authorities outlawed the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, an Islamist opposition movement, accusing it of being behind a failed coup.

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(Reporting by Nazarali Pirnazarov; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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