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Uzbekistan Jails More Alleged Islamic Extremists

20 July 2005 (RFE/RL) -- An Uzbek court has convicted seven Muslim women of religious extremism for allegedly belonging to the banned Islamic revival party Hizb ut-Tahrir, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reported.

The seven were sentenced yesterday, receiving jail terms ranging from three to seven years. Charges included belonging to a banned group and plotting to overthrow the government.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is banned in several Central Asian countries and Russia. It seeks to establish a caliphate, or independent Islamic state, in Central Asia. The group claims to be a nonviolent, but Central Asian governments say its members are involved in terrorist activities and spreading extremist ideology.

Rights groups have long criticized the Uzbek government for cracking down on Muslims, saying up to 6,000 people have been jailed in Uzbekistan for alleged extremism in recent years.

(with agencies)