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Crimean Tatar Leader Claims FSB Behind Murder Plan

Mustafa Dzhemilev (center) said he knows from diplomatic sources about FSB plans to have him killed.
KYIV -- Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev says he believes Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) is behind a special operation to assassinate him, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Two members of the Islamist group At-Takfir wal-Hidjra were arrested on October 26 during a special operation in several parts of the Ukrainian region.

Leaders of the movement are alleged to have issued a fatwa to kill Dzhemilev and some of his associates for their criticism of radical Islam.

Dzhemilev told RFE/RL that members of a radical Islamic movement who were recently arrested "could hardly" initiate such an assassination plan.

Dzhemilev said the spiritual direction of the Crimean Muslims and radical Islamist organizations share a "mutual enmity." He added that radical Islamists have nothing in common with Islam and should be called extremists.

But Dzhemilev said he knows from diplomatic sources about FSB plans to have him killed. He said "some states who are not interested in allowing democratization in Ukraine" might be sponsoring the extremist Islamic organizations.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko said the arrested members of the Islamist group are refusing to talk. He said they refuse to recognize Ukrainian laws and say they are subordinate only to their religion.

Crimean police chief Gennady Moskal told RFE/RL that an estimated 100 members of extremist organizations are active in Crimea. He said security forces are searching for At-Takfir wal-Hidjra's leader.

Moskal added that some refugees from Uzbekistan join up with Ukrainian extremist organizations.

He said he does not believe there is "a Russian trace" in any assassination plan for Dzhemilev.

Dzhemilev, who is the chairman of the Crimean Tatar Assembly and spent many years in the gulag as a Soviet dissident, had previously called on the Ukrainian government to allow the 33 Crimean Tatar parliament members to carry arms due to threats from Islamic extremists.