Shohida Mamadjonova, the mother of exiled blogger and outspoken government critic Sherzod Mamadjonov, has been jailed for supporting ides of the opposition movement Group 24, which is banned in Tajikistan.
A court in Dushanbe’s Ismoili Somoni district sentenced Shohida Mamadjonova to six years in prison on April 7.
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The court’s ruling was nearly identical to the prosecution’s earlier demand for a seven-year prison.
Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service, known locally as Radio Ozodi, says a prosecutor in the trial accused Shohida Mamadjonova of supporting ideas of Group 24 and the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, which are banned in Tajikistan.
The prosecutor also noted that Shohida Mamadjonova had twice posted anti-government comments on YouTube, including offensive remarks about the top leadership of the country that were posted on November 16, which is celebrated as President’s Day in Tajikistan.
Mamadjonova reportedly pleaded not guilty but said she was “sorry” for commenting on her son’s videos that were critical of the Tajik government.
Lawyers representing Shohida Mamadjonov denounced the ruling and vowed to appeal the verdict.
Her son Sherzod Mamadjonov had earlier told RFE/RL that persons close to the government had informed him of the conditions for his mother’s release from custody. “They say that mom will be released on the condition that I return to Tajikistan and publicly repent of my actions. The government officials wrote about this on their fake pages on Facebook and YouTube,” Sherzod said.
Recall, Tajik authorities arrested the 45-year-old Shohida Mamadjonova on February 3 on an extremism charge.
Mamadjonova had been missing for five days after she was summoned to a police station in Vahdat Township, near Dushanbe.
The Tajik Interior Ministry said late on February 8 that Shohida Mamadjonova was arrested on suspicion of organizing extremist activities. The ministry did not give any further details.
Sherzod Mamadjonov at the time called his mother’s arrest a politically motivated attack on his family. He said that his mother had earlier been summoned by the police several times, where they ordered her to persuade her son to return to Tajikistan.
Sherzod, who resides in Germany, is known in Tajikistan for his blog criticizing the government for its restrictive policies toward practicing Muslims in the tightly controlled country.