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Court In Astana Jails Man For Membership In Banned Islamic Group

ASTANA -- A court in the Kazakh capital, Astana, has sentenced a local resident to nine months in prison for membership in a banned Islamic group.

The Sary Arqa District Court on June 2 found Murat Taqaumov guilty of being a member of the Tablighi Jamaat group and sentenced him the same day.

Taqaumov pleaded not guilty and vowed to appeal the sentence.

In February, the same court in Astana found five local residents guilty of being members of the same group and sentenced them to prison terms of between 1 and 2 years.

Tablighi Jamaat is officially banned in Kazakhstan, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.

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.