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Kyrgyz Imam Arrested For Belonging To Banned Islamic Group

BAZAR-KORGON, Kyrgyzstan -- A local imam in Kyrgyzstan's southern district of Bazar-Korgon has been arrested for suspected membership in a banned Islamic group.

The spokeswoman of the Jalal-Abad regional interior affairs department, Aida Zulpukarova, told RFE/RL that Imam Shukurbek Duvanaev, 38, was detained for being a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is an international London-based Sunni political organization that seeks to unite all Muslim countries into an Islamic caliphate.

The Kyrgyz government, along with a number of other CIS countries, has banned Hizb ut-Tahrir, branding its supporters "extremists."

According to Zulpukarova, investigators found books, leaflets, and tapes with extremist content in Duvanaev's house.

Kyrgyz police have arrested several suspected members of Hizb ut-Tahrir in the Jalal-Abad region and in Bishkek, the capital, since August.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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