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Tajikistan Concerned About Uzbek Islamic Militants

Islamic Center in Dushanbe, the Tajik capital (file photo) (RFE/RL) Dushanbe, 16 January 2006 (RFE/RL)-- Tajikistan is raising concern over what it says are the increasing number of clandestine border crossings by Islamic militants arriving from Uzbekistan, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Deputy Prosecutor General Abdulsami Dadabaev said that 74 members of the banned Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir, including 16 women, were arrested in 2005. He said 38 were sentenced to lengthy jail terms for "extremist activities."

Security Ministry official Abdulqadir Mohamadiyev said two of those arrested were members of the movement's leadership.

"One of them is the deputy leader of this party's cell [in Tajikistan], and the prosecutor's office of the Soghd region [in northern Tajikistan] is investigating this case now," he said. "The other person, whose investigation is coming to an end, is a cell leader in the Soghd region. Both of them have been in detention and their cases are in the final stages."

Mohamadiyev said most of those arrested were Tajiks of Uzbek origin and had been trained in Uzbekistan. They had, he said, moved into the Soghd region, where they had sought to spread Hizb ut-Tahrir's ideas and to recruit new members.

Hizb ut-Tahrir, which calls for the establishment of a pan-Islamic state, is banned in most of Central Asia. The group says it rejects the use of violence.

(RFE/RL's Tajik Service)

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