17 October 2011, 16:40
Four Hizb ut-Tahrir members sentenced in Tajikistan
Dushanbe, October 17, Interfax - The Sogd Regional Court in northern Tajikistan has convicted four local residents of extremism. Their total prison time is 84 years, the court reported on Monday.
The members of the outlawed Hizb ut-Tahrir religious party stood trial in Hujand, the regional center of the Sogd Region located 340 kilometers northeast of Dushanbe.
"The court found the four citizens of Tajikistan guilty of organizing a criminal group, inciting an ethnic, racial or religious feud, organizing and participating in an extremist group, publicly appealing for the violent change of the constitutional system of Tajikistan and engaging in extremist activity," the court said.
Abdunabi Abdulkodirov, born in 1965, and Yahehon Rahmonhujayev, born in 1985, were sentenced to 20 years. Talat Mavlonov, born in 1988, and Ibrogimbek Mahmudov, born in 1981, will spend 22 years in a maximum-security prison.
Their property has been confiscated. All the men are prohibited from holding positions at any religious organizations for the rest of their lives.
Hujand is located in the Tajik part of the Fergana Valley, which is also shared by Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. This is an area where various extremist movements operate.
Urunboi Usmonov, a BBC reporter in Tajikistan, was found guilty of participation in Hizb ut-Tahrir by the Hujand Court last Friday. He was amnestied, but BBC said he was persecuted for his professional activity.
Tajik courts convicted 158 people of religious extremism in 2010, compared to only 37 such convictions a year before.
Hizb ut-Tahrir is a pan-Islamic organization founded in Jerusalem in 1953, whose declared goal is for all Muslim countries to unify into one state (caliphate). Russia and other CIS countries list this organization as a terrorist one, unlike the U.S. and Western European countries, where Hizb ut-Tahrir can act legally.