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Alleged Hizb Ut-Tahrir Members Arrested In Tatarstan

KAZAN, Tatarstan -- Tatarstan's branch of the Russian security service (FSB) says a group of alleged Hizb ut-Tahrir members has been arrested in Tatarstan, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

The FSB said today the arrests were made in the Tatar capital, Kazan, as well as in Chally and Tuben Kama.

It is unclear how many people were taken into custody.

Eduard Ismagilov, the FSB spokesman in Kazan, told RFE/RL he can't reveal the exact number due to the ongoing investigation. He did say at least five people are in custody.

But Yevgeni Lizunov, the FSB spokesman in Chally, told RFE/RL that "about six" suspects were arrested. He would not give any further details about the case.

Chally is Tatarstan's second-largest city.

Russian authorities consider Hizb ut-Tahrir to be a terrorist organization. Several court cases against alleged Hizb ut-Tahrir members have been held in Russia's mainly Muslim-populated regions such as Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, and Chelyabinsk.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is an international Islamic organization whose chief goal is to unite all Muslim countries into a caliphate that would be ruled by Islamic law. It denies using violence or terrorist means in pursuing its goal.