Kyrgyzstan jails Imam for alleged support to ISIS

Kyrgyzstan has sentenced a leading imam to five years in prison on extremism charges and for alleged support to the Islamic State group.

Imam Rashot Kamalov, who is from the country’s volatile south, was sentenced on charges of inciting religious hatred and distributing extremist material, the regional court in the town of Kara-Suu confirmed Thursday.

Kamalov’s supporters say he is innocent and has been targeted due to sermons which are often critical of the government.

His lawyers argue that his reference to a “caliphate” in a sermon last year was taken out of context by the prosecution, which claimed it as an endorsement of the IS.

Kamalov’s legal team will appeal Wednesday’s sentence.

Hundreds of citizens from Central Asian Kyrgyzstan are thought to be fighting for the IS, mainly in Syria.

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