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Two Alleged Tajik Islamists Go On Trial On Extortion Charges

KHUJAND, Tajikistan -- Two alleged members of an Islamist group in Tajikistan's northern city of Khujand have gone on trial on money extortion charges.

Investigators say Firuz Kurbonov and Fathullo Rajabov are members of the Lashkar-i-Islam (Army of Islam) group, a militant Islamist organization established in Pakistan in 2004.

According to the investigators, the two men were members of a local criminal group involved in money extortion. No more details were available.

The trial, which began on April 14, is being held behind closed doors in a local detention center.

Kurbonov and Rajabov were arrested in January on their arrival from the United Arab Emirates, where they were hiding after several of their alleged associates had been detained in summer last year.

Three alleged members of the group were sentenced to prison terms between 10 and 11 years in December.

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