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article imageTajikistan to introduce harsh jail terms for 'witchcraft', 'sorcery'

By AFP     Sep 24, 2015 in World

Tajikistan is set to introduce legislation that would punish practitioners of 'witchcraft' and 'sorcery' with prison sentences of up to seven years, state television said Thursday.

The authoritarian ex-Soviet country's government sent to parliament on Wednesday amendments to the criminal code that will see purportedly magical practices previously punished by fines criminalised.

Although the exact activities the legislation will cover were not specified, the law is likely intended to target witch-doctors and healers that have turned their claims to special powers into a business in recent years.

The amendments will face no opposition in the parliament where lawmakers are exclusively loyal to 62-year-old strongman President Emomali Rakhmon.

Tajikistan is known for its harsh legislation which made international news in August when a young man was fined over $600 for sharing cake with friends in a pub on his birthday.

A local court determined he had violated a law on parties which forbids public birthday celebrations and sets limits to the number of guests at weddings and funerals among other restrictions.

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