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'Local Leader' Of Banned Islamic Group Jailed In St.Petersburg

A court in the Russian city of St Petersburg has sentenced a man to 12 1/2 years in prison on charges of being a leader of the banned Hizb-ut-Tahrir organization.

Sergei Yablokov was found guilty of "organizing the activities of a terrorist group," his defense lawyer said on March 30.

The lawyer, Vladimir Spiridovich, said Yablokov pleaded guilty and "repented."

Yablokov was arrested along with another alleged leader of a Hizb-ut-Tahrir cell in St. Petersburg, Roman Ivanov in June 2014.

Ivanov is being tried separately.

Russia's Supreme Court banned Hizb-ut-Tahrir in 2003, designating it a "terrorist organization."

The group is also banned across Central Asia.

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

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax