A court in Sughd province has sentenced eleven activists of the banned religious extremist Hizb ut-Tahrir group, including two citizens of Uzbekistan, to jail terms of three to twenty year, news agency “Asia-Plus” reported.
The Sughd regional court completed consideration of criminal proceedings instituted against nine local residents and two Uzbek nationals on April 26. They were found guilty of active membership in the banned extremist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir and sentenced to prison terms of 3 to 20 years.
The source at the Sughd regional court says they were charged with inciting ethnic and religious enmity, calling for the overthrow of the constitutional order, organizing extremist group and participating in political parties or public and religious associations that are banned in Tajikistan for extremist activities.
“Two Uzbek nationals were found guilty of illegally crossing the border, inciting ethnic and religious enmity and calling for the overthrow of the constitutional order and sentenced to 14 years in prison each,” the source added.
We will recall that eleven other members of the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir were convicted in northern Tajikistan in late March. They were sentenced to prison terms of 4 to 20 years.
According to the Sughd prosecutor’s office, local prosecutors instituted criminal proceedings against 90 members of the banned extremis organizations, including 42 Hizb ut-Tahrir activists, in 2010. Over the first three months of this year, the Sughd prosecutor’s office has instituted criminal proceedings against 29 members of Hizb ut-Tahrir.
The Supreme Court of Tajikistan formally labeled the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir Islamist group as an extremist organization on March 11, 2008. The ruling followed a request submitted to the court by Tajik chief prosecutor. Although the group has been outlawed in Tajikistan since April 2001, the ruling means even tighter restrictions on the group’s presence on the Internet and its use of media to promote its ideology.