Tajkistan jails 13 leaders of Islamist party for up to life

Tajikistan jailed 13 leading members of a banned moderate Islamist opposition party for up to life, officials said.

Published: 02nd June 2016 05:47 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd June 2016 05:47 PM   |  A+A-


DUSHANBE: Tajikistan today jailed 13 leading members of a banned moderate Islamist opposition party for up to life, officials said.

The ex-Soviet Central Asian country handed life sentences to two leading figures in the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) while 11 others received up to 28 years, officials in Dushanbe told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Tajikistan has not yet released an official statement on the outcome of the closed trial at the supreme court.

Savrinisso Dzhurabekova, wife of one of the jailed men, confirmed to AFP that "two have been sentenced to life" including her husband Makhmadali Khait, the deputy head of the party.

The convicts' ages range from 41 to 70.

Khait is known for "his vocal support for human rights, freedom of expression, and freedom of religion," Steve Swerdlow, Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch, said last month.

The high-profile trial of the formal opposition to Tajikistan's strongman President Emomali Rakhmon has prompted the United States, the European Union and the United Nations to issue statements of concern.

In April, the US State Department labelled Tajikistan a "country of particular concern" over the growing crackdown on Islam in the majority-Muslim country.

The men who were arrested in October last year and went on trial in February, were accused of attempting to seize power by force and "terrorism" over deadly clashes last September.

More than 50 people were killed in nearly two weeks of clashes between security forces and followers of a renegade deputy defence minister.

Afterwards, Tajikistan banned the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan as an "extremist terrorist organisation," although the party has denied any involvement in the violence.

The party was widely viewed as moderate and was legally registered until the ban. It was seen as one of the few potential sources of genuine opposition to President Rakhmon's two-decade rule.

Critics have called the high-profile trial part of attempts by the government to eradicate Islam from public life.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp