QURGHON-TEPPA, Tajikistan -- Tajikistan's Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by 18 members of the banned Islamic group Jamaat ut-Tabligh seeking to have their prison terms reduced, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.
In May, a Khatlon provincial court sentenced 36 suspected members of the group to prison terms ranging from three to 6 1/2 years.
Nurullo Ashurov, the lawyer of Nosir Rahimov, who was named as the leader of the group, told RFE/RL on August 5 that the 18 people who appealed their sentences had never been arrested before and he hoped the court would reduce their prison terms to fines.
Khatlon provincial court head Muhabbat Aziziova told RFE/RL on August 5 that the investigation found that all those arrested had studied abroad where they discussed and planned to overthrow the Tajik government.
But Qalandar Sadriddinov, the leader of the Islamic Renaissance Party in Khatlon, said that Jamaat ut-Tabligh has not done anything to violate the constitution.
The sentencing in May was the second collective trial of Jamaat ut-Tabligh members in Tajikistan. Last year, 56 alleged members of the banned group were either sentenced to prison terms or given administrative punishments.
Jamaat ut-Tabligh was banned in Tajikistan in 2006.