DUSHANBE -- An 87-year-old man in Tajikistan has been handed a five-year prison sentence for supporting families of jailed opposition politicians.
Relatives of Doniyor Nabiev told RFE/RL on January 4 that the man was sentenced on December 28 after a court in Dushanbe had found him guilty of "providing relatives of jailed members of the banned Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) with material support."
A source in the Ismoili Somoni district court in Dushanbe confirmed to RFE/RL that Nabiev was convicted and sentenced in late December, but refused to give any details, saying that case materials were classified.
A former member of the IRPT, Mahmadi Teshaev, told RFE/RL that Nabiev, who also used to be a party member in the past, had been arrested in September.
Nabiev "has provided families of jailed IRPT members with food, such as meat and fruit during holidays. That is why he was detained and sent to prison," Teshaev said.
The IRPT, long an influential party with representatives in the Tajik government and parliament, was labeled an extremist and terrorist group and banned in 2015 -- moves the party and human rights groups say were unjustified and politically motivated.
Dozens of IRPT officials and supporters have been prosecuted and many of them imprisoned, drawing further criticism of President Emomali Rahmon's government from rights groups.
Activists say Rahmon, who has ruled Tajikistan since 1992, has used the security forces and other levers of power to sideline opponents and suppress dissent.