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Tajik Authorities Detain 27 Suspected Members Of Banned Muslim Brotherhood

DUSHANBE -- Tajik police have detained 27 people on suspicion of being members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood group.

Police sources in Dushanbe, speaking on condition of anonymity, told RFE/RL on January 6 that members of the banned Islamist group were detained in the Tajik capital and in the regions of Sughd and Khatlon during the previous week.

They said those detained included students, Islamic clerics, and local officials.

The police sources told RFE/RL that there were no initial charges filed against the detainees. But they said the detainees were still being questioned as part of an ongoing investigation.

They said additional arrests were possible as a result of the investigation.

Relatives of some detainees told RFE/RL that their homes had been searched during the weekend.

The Muslim Brotherhood is a Sunni Islamist organization founded in Egypt in 1928 by the Islamic scholar Hassan al-Banna.

The group's teachings have spread internationally and have influenced various Islamist groups, movements, and parties around the world -- some of which do not use the same name.

The group claims to be peaceful but has been banned in many countries as an extremist organization. Tajikistan banned the group as such in 2006.

In 2016, an imam in Tajikistan's northern region of Sughd was sentenced to five years in prison for being a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.