The jailed human rights lawyer Buruzrgmehr Yorov now also faces the charge of insulting the Leader of the Nation.
Yorov’s wife, Zarrina Nabiyeva, says the fourth criminal case was instituted against her husband in late February.
“During a court hearing over the fraud charge brought against him, my husband said that he had always acted within the limits of laws signed by the president of Tajikistan. “If they accuse me of fraud so all are fraudsters,” my husband said,” Zarrina Nabiyeva told Asia-Plus in an interview.
The Payom.net website has cited that statement by Buzurgmehr Yorov. The Prosecutor-General’s Office has instituted new criminal proceedings against Buzurgmehr Yorov on the basis of that publication.
Recall, Tajikistan’s Supreme Court sentenced Buzurgmehr Yorov to additional two years behind bars on March 15.
Yorov’s relatives say the Supreme Court found him guilty of contempt of court and insulting a government official.
Recall, a prosecutor on March 14 asked the judge to add two additional years to Yorov’s 23-year jail term.
Buzurgmehr Yorov reportedly got additional jail term for reading out an 11th-century poem in court.
As he sat in the dock during a court hearing in October, Yorov, according to an eyewitness who spoke to Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service, read a poem by Omar Khayyam during the closed-door trial:
With these ignorant few who foolishly
Consider themselves the intelligent ones of the world
Should be donkeys, because they are so deep in donkeyness
That they call "blasphemous" whomever is not a donkey
The reading reportedly led to a heated exchange between the defendant and the prosecutor Rustam Taqdirzoda, who considers that Yorov insulted him as a representative of state authorities.
In October last year, 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.
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.