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Kazakh Jailed For Membership In Banned Islamic Group

TEMIRTAU, Kazakhstan -- A court in Kazakhstan's central city of Temirtau has sentenced a local resident to three years in jail for being a member of a banned Islamic group.

The Qaraghandy regional court's press service says Orazbek Apakashev, 30, was found guilty on September 30 of being a member of the Tablighi Jamaat group and sentenced on the same day.

According to the court, Apakashev actively participated in the banned group's activities in the Pakistani cities of Lahore and Karachi.

The Tablighi Jamaat is a religious movement founded in India in 1926 that positions itself as a pacifist organization and not involved in politics.

In recent years, it has been banned in Kazakhstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Islamic groups have been under increased scrutiny from the Kazakh authorities since a suspected Islamist militant carried out the country's first-ever suicide bombing in the northwestern city of Aqtobe in 2011.

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