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Imam Of Closed Tatarstan Mosque Gets Two Years In Jail

KAZAN, Russia -- The leader of a disbanded mosque in Russia's republic of Tatarstan has been sentenced to two years in jail for spreading extremist ideas.

Imam Rustem Safin, 41, was sentenced after the court found him guilty late on September 24 of being a member of the international Hizb ut-Tahrir Islamic group, which is banned in Russia, and of propagating the group's ideas among Muslims attending the Al-Ikhlas Mosque in Kazan.

In January, Kazan police evicted members of the Al-Ikhlas community from their mosque for "failure to repair the building," which belongs to the city.

In May, Tatarstan's Supreme Court ordered that the Al-Ikhlas Muslim religious group be disbanded for what it called "extremist activities."

Safin's lawyer, Taufik Vasilov, told RFE/RL that his client's sentence will be appealed.

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

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