English Teacher, Students Jailed On Terrorism Charges In Tajikistan

November 16, 2018 14:07 GMT

DUSHANBE -- A 22-year-old English-language teacher, his four students, and five other young men have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms on terrorism charges in Tajikistan.

The Dushanbe city court sentenced Jahongir Qosimov to 19 years in prison on November 16 in a closed trial after finding him guilty of recruiting young Tajiks to join the Islamic State (IS) extremist group.

Nine other young men, including Qosimov's four students, were found guilty of propagating religious extremism and intending to join IS.

They were handed prison terms of between six months and 19 years. Qosimov had confessed to propagating IS ideas among his students.

The four men were caught earlier this year while trying to illegally cross the Tajik-Afghan border. They later confessed to planning to join IS in Afghanistan, relatives said.

Five other men were detained and charged after the arrests of Qosimov's four students. It was unclear whether they had pleaded guilty as well at the hearing.

According to lawyers and relatives, some of the nine men plan to appeal the court ruling.

Tajik authorities have said that more than 1,000 nationals of the Central Asian state have joined IS in recent years.