DUSHANBE -- Tajikistan's Supreme Court sentenced five members of Jamoai Tabligh, a banned Islamic group, to prison terms ranging from three to six years, RFE/RL's Tajik Service has reported.
The August 10 trial was the first of Jamoai Tabligh followers ever held in Tajikistan.
The five men were among some 120 people arrested during a raid by police and security officers at a mosque in Dushanbe’s Guliston neighborhood. The others were released after questioning.
Tajik officials banned the Islamic group in 2006 after calling it an extremist and terrorist group, giving it the same status as Hizb ut-Tahrir, another banned Islamic group.
Jamoai Tabligh followers, however, reject the charges that their group is a terrorist or extremist organization, saying that it is entirely peaceful and has no political or antigovernment agenda.
Group members add that they merely promote Islam and simple values such as moderate eating and sleeping habits, being honest, and helping others.
The trial came one day after a suspected member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan was reported killed during a police raid in the Dushanbe outskirts.