WARSAW -- Tajik lawyer Buzurgmehr Yorov has been awarded the Faiziniso Vohidova Human Rights Prize for his contribution to the development of democratic institutions and civil rights in Tajikistan.
The award is named after the late prominent Tajik lawyer, Faiziniso Vohidova, who for decades defended dissidents, rights activists, and opposition politicians.
The award, established by the Association of Central Asian Migrants in Europe, was handed to Yorov's brother Jamshed Yorov in Warsaw at the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, on September 18.
Speaking to RFE/RL after the ceremony, Jamshed Yorov noted the symbolism in his brother receiving the award named for Vohidova as 'both had a role in protecting human rights and protecting the people.'
Yorov is among at least five human rights attorneys whom groups say have been targeted by Tajik authorities in connection with their work.
He was a lawyer for 13 jailed members and leaders of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, which President Emomali Rahmon's government labeled a terrorist organization and outlawed in 2015.
In October 2016, Yorov was sentenced to 23 years in prison after a court convicted him of calling for the government's overthrow and inciting social unrest.
Later, his prison term was extended to 28 years on additional charges.
Western governments and human rights organizations have accused Tajik authorities of persecuting lawyers, particularly those who took up the defense of government critics.
Last month, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe said that Yorov was shortlisted for the 2019 Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize along with Chinese Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti and the Youth Initiative for Human Rights in the Balkans.
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