Jailed rights defender faces new charge
Jailed rights defense Izzat Amon now faces new charge – embezzlement of 7,000 U.S. dollars. A new lawsuit against him was put forward by a resident of the city of Bokhtar, the capital of Khatlon province.
Izzat Amon’s defense lawyer, Saidburhon Sharipov, has confirmed this information in an interview with Asia-Plus.
“This resident of Bokhtar accuses my client of taking 7,000 U.S. dollars from him. However, today there was a confrontation and Izzat Amon said that he did not get that money,” Sharipov said Wednesday afternoon, noting that that man has accused Izzat Amon on behalf of his brother.
“It is not enough to start a case,” the defense lawyer added.
Meanwhile, one of relatives of Izzat Amon has told Asia-Plus that the conflict regarding 7,000 U.S. dollars dates back to 2009.
“13 years ago, he allegedly paid US$7,000 to Izzat Amon to hire a lawyer. Izzat Amon took the money and gave it to the lawyer he hired for them. He no longer knows what happened between them. This lawyer has passed away. And now they have appeared and demand money,” Asia-Plus’s interlocutor said.
Recall, one more fraud charge was brought against Izzat Amon in March.
Citing a source within the Interior Ministry, Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service reported on March 7 that a resident of Bokhtar had filed a lawsuit against Amon, accusing him of stealing US$10,000 through an unspecified fraudulent action.
Amon's relatives said the case was fabricated.
Izzat Amon led the Center for Tajiks in Moscow for many years before he was deprived of Russian citizenship and forced to return to Dushanbe in March last year at the request of Tajik authorities, who accused the activist of financial fraud.
On October 19, 2021, the Dushanbe city court sentenced Izzat Amon to nine years in prison.
According to Amon’s defense lawyer Saidburhon Sharipov, Izzat Amon, in his closing speech, pleaded guilty, expressed regret and asked to be pardoned according to the amnesty, stating that he compensated all damages according to the charge.
“When sentencing, the court violated the laws of the Republic of Tajikistan, including Article 49 of the Penal Code and Article 5 of the “Amnesty Law”. This sentence is illegal. When the law comes into force, the court must do justice. The amnesty law should have been applied to my client,” Sharipov said.
The court's ruling is identical to the prosecution's earlier demand. On September 27, a prosecutor in the trial of Izzat Amon asked the Dushanbe city court to sentence Amon to a 9-year prison term.
Amon’s defense lawyer said at the time that the prosecutor's request was based on the fact that they could not find the last victim and pay him compensation.
Amon's supporters and relatives dismissed the charges as politically motivated before he was convicted and sentenced in October.
RFE/RL’s Tajik Service says Amon’s nonprofit organization in Moscow has helped Tajik migrant workers find jobs, obtain work and residency permits, and get legal advice.