Tajik Blogger's Mother Convicted On Hooliganism Charge Activist Son Calls 'Retaliation'

By RFE/RL's Tajik Service

A court in Tajikistan's northeastern district of Lakhsh has sentenced the mother of noted blogger Junaidullo Khudoyorov to two years of house arrest after finding her guilty of hooliganism, a charge the 66-year-old woman denies.

Majigul Gharibova was accused of beating a local man, Alisher Nasriddin, during a conflict in November, which she vehemently denies.

Gharibova told RFE/RL after the court pronounced its decision on June 1 that she will appeal the ruling, adding that the charge against her was based on "lies."

Gharibova's son told RFE/RL that he considered the court ruling to be "retaliation" by the local authorities for his online articles revealing corruption and abuse of power among them.

In 2017, Khudoyorov was sentenced to five years in prison on a charge of supporting a banned Islamic group, which stemmed from his online postings. He was released after less than two years on a presidential mass amnesty.

Domestic and international rights groups for years have criticized authoritarian leader Emomali Rahmon, who has ruled Tajikistan since 1992, for using the security forces and other levers of power to sideline opponents and suppress dissent.

Khudoyorov's brother, Farkhod, is an active member of the opposition Social Democratic Party. He was sentenced to 15 days in jail in 2018 on a charge of insulting the authorities.

In April, another mother of a Tajik blogger, Shohida Mamadjonova, was sentenced to six years in prison on an extremism charge that her Germany-based son and outspoken government critic, Sherzod Mamadjonov, called a politically motivated attack on his family.