Lawyer For Jailed Tajik Human Rights Attorney Flees To Germany

A lawyer for jailed Tajik human rights attorney Buzurgmehr Yorov has fled Tajikistan after fearing for her safety.

Muazzama Qodirova told RFE/RL on March 29 that she is currently in Germany and has applied for political asylum there.

Qodirova's whereabouts had been unknown for three months.

She told RFE/RL that Tajik authorities had threatened to launch a criminal investigation accusing her of leaking information about her client's case to foreign media.

Yorov was a lawyer for 13 jailed members and leaders of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), which President Emomali Rahmon's government labeled a terrorist organization and outlawed in 2015.

In October, Yorov was sentenced to 23 years in prison, after the Dushanbe City Court convicted him of calling for the government's overthrow and inciting social unrest.

In mid-March, Tajikistan's Supreme Court found Yorov guilty of contempt of court and insulting a government official and extended his prison term by two years.

Yorov is among at least five human rights attorneys whom rights groups say have been targeted by authorities in Tajikistan in connection with their work.