DUSHANBE -- The Tajik Supreme Court has sentenced eight relatives of prominent Tajik citizens to life in prison, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.
The group is led by Suhrob Langariev, 30, who was found guilty of illegal drug and arms trafficking. Langariev is the brother of a prominent pro-government commander during the country's civil war, Langari Langariev, and the son-in-law of Sangak Safarov, who led the pro-presidential National Front movement during the war.
Sangak Safarov's son, Nurmahmad, was also sentenced to life in prison as a member of Langariev's group.
Supreme Court spokesman Mahmadali Yusufov told RFE/RL that the trial was held behind closed doors.
Langariev and the others were apprehended in the southwestern Tajik town of Kulob last summer. Two of the eight members of the group are Afghans.
Farkhunda Samadova, Langariev's lawyer, said her client pleaded partially guilty to illegal weapon possession, but denied the other charges.
His father, Salmon Langariev, told RFE/RL he has tried to meet with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon to request a pardon for his son.
He said the Tajik authorities should not forget that his son, closest relatives, and Nurmahmad Safarov helped the Tajik government come to power in 1992.