MOSCOW (AP) — A Tajik journalist who also headed a comedy troupe has been sentenced to 12 years in prison in a case denounced by rights advocates.
Khairullo Mirsaidov was sentenced Wednesday by a court in the northern city of Khujand, convicted of embezzling state funds, forgery and knowingly making false statements.
Mirsaidov was arrested in December, several weeks after releasing a letter to Tajikistan's president and other officials in which he alleged the regional youth office, which sponsored his troupe, had diverted some of the funds.
The Asia-Plus news agency reported that Mirsaidov was also fined about 124,000 somoni ($13,400).
Human Rights Watch's Steve Swerdlow said on Twitter that the conviction is a "rude awaking to all of Tajikistan's international partners about depths to which its abysmal human rights record has sunk."