01/11/2021, 12.59
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Dushanbe sentences Islamic activists

Government attempts to curb the growth of the Islamic Revival Party, already branded "terrorist" in 2015. Donier Nabiev, 87, was sentenced to 5 years in prison; Dzhaloliddin Mahmud to 6 and a half years old. Trials held behind closed doors and sentences handed down without readings.



Dushanbe (AsiaNews) - The Ismoili Somoni district court, in the Tajik capital, has sentenced Donier Nabiev, 87 (photo 1), a former activist of the Islamic Renaissance party (PRI), now banned by the authorities, to five years in prison. News has only recently emerged of the trial, which took place behind closed doors and where the judges refused to comment on the sentence. Relatives of the accused stated that "Donier was found guilty of bringing humanitarian aid to his relatives, imprisoned for belonging to the PRI".

Saidiskhok Boboev, one of the family members, in an interview with Radio Ozodi said that the sentence had been passed on December 28, but nothing had been communicated, as in the days of the Stalinist courts. Court officials then confirmed the sentence without comment, stating that the material was classified.

One of the leaders of the PRI, Makhmadi Teshaev, said in turn that the elderly activist, also known as Boboj Dona, "grandfather Dona", had been arrested last September at his home in the kishlak (village) of Gulbutta, without any explanation . According to Teshaev, "Boboj Dona brought meat and fruit to his relatives in prison, and for that alone he was locked up in prison".

In recent months, several trials have been held in Dushanbe and its surroundings against members of the PRI, the main party opposing the eternal president Emomali Rakhmon (in office since 1994, former local secretary of the Communist Party). The PRI is also the only explicitly Islamic party in the ex-Soviet countries, founded in 1991 after the end of the USSR. In 2015 the party was officially dissolved by the Supreme Court of Tajikistan, which called it a "terrorist organization", and its members have been operating in semi-clandestinity ever since. One of its leaders, Dzhaloliddin Mahmud (photo 2), was arrested in 2015 after the dissolution, then pardoned in 2019 and recently sentenced again to six and a half years for terrorist activities.

Mahmud was in fact accused of having tried to "change the constitutional state by force", in reality for having tried to make the activities of the PRI legal again. After a period in solitary confinement, he is now serving his sentence in the Bakhdat concentration camp, a "correctional camp" set up especially for members of the PRI. It was in Bakhdat, in September 2015, that the "revolt" led by General Abdulahim Nazarzod had taken place. The then Deputy Minister of Defense had tried to take over the barracks which have now become a concentration camp.

The leadership of the PRI has always rejected any accusation of connivance with General Nazarzod, arguing that the purpose of the Tajik authorities is only the exclusion of an influential political force such as their party. The exponents of the dissolved party also contest the many "baseless" arrests of their comrades and ask for their release, starting with Boboj Dona. The former Minister of Justice of Tajikistan, Rustam Shohmurod, also declared that "all the detainees are in custody for the crimes they have committed".

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