Urunboy Usmonov

BBC reporter Urunboy Usmonov, who told a Tajik court during his trial that he was tortured during his detention

Credit: BBC

A BBC reporter working in Tajikistan has been found guilty of having ties to a banned Islamist extremist group, Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Urunboy Usmonov, who has worked for the BBC Central Asian Service for the previous decade, was sentenced to three years in prison by the court but was granted amnesty by the judge and released.

According to a statement from the BBC, 59-year-old Usmonov intends to appeal the decision at Tajikistan's supreme court.

Usmonov has consistently denied any involvement with the group, and the BBC today condemned the verdict against him.

"The BBC believes that no evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever emerged during the trial, and that only a complete exoneration of our correspondent is acceptable," the broadcaster said in a statement.

Peter Horrocks, director of BBC Global News, said the BBC would continue to support Usmonov during his appeal.

"We will continue to support Urunboy and hope that the appeal process will lead to his reputation as a highly respected writer and journalist being restored.

"We also intend to press for answers over the torture and mistreatment Urunboy suffered while in custody and to raise real concerns about shortcomings in the legal process."

During his trial in August, Usmonov told the court that he had been tortured and forced to sign a false confession while in detention. He said he had been beaten and had his arms burned with cigarettes by Tajik security officials.

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