DUSHANBE -- The prison terms of the sons of slain Tajik Emergency Situations Minister and former opposition commander Mirzo Ziyoev have been reduced by half to 15 years by an appeals court, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.
Muhammad Reza Ziyoev and Sayed Akhmad Ziyoev were arrested in 2009 for their alleged connection with unrest in eastern Tajikistan and cooperation with a terrorist group, and were sentenced to 28 and 30 years in prison, respectively.
Tajik officials said Mirzo Ziyoev was killed in an ambush by his own supporters during an antidrug operation in Tavil-Dara in July 2009. His supporters deny any responsibility in his death. The government later said Ziyoev and his supporters had been involved in drug trafficking and supporting the banned Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.
Sanavbar Kholova, a member of the appeals court, told RFE/RL "the appeals court received a complaint from the Ziyoev sons and court members reviewed the complaint and we rendered a verdict to reduce their prison terms."
The Supreme Court said that nearly all cases in connection with the Tavil-Dara events in 2009 have now been reviewed and, along with the cases of Ziyoev's sons, the prison terms of several other people, including Ziyoev's brother, have been reduced.
The entire Tavil-Dara case included 49 people, most of them relatives and associates of Ziyoev who were detained between May and December 2009.
Several Tajik officials say they believe the people involved in the events in Tavil-Dara are connected with a large prison escape last year and fighting between insurgents and government forces in the Rasht region.
Ziyoev was the United Tajik Opposition's top military commander during the 1992-97 civil war. At the end of the war he was named emergency situations minister.