11 Hizb-ut-Tahrir Members Arrested in Russia

by Laurence on 10/3/2004 · 1 comment

One Uzbek is among 11 men arrested with grenades and explosives, reportedly members of a Hizb-ut-Tahrir cell, according to The Moscow Times

Nizhny Novgorod authorities have detained 11 men accused of being members of an extremist Islamic group that the Uzbek president claims inspired deadly attacks in Uzbekistan this year, officials said.

The men, all age 25 or older, are accused of being members of Hizb-ut-Tahrir. The group, which originated in the Middle East and whose Arabic name means Party of Liberation, claims to disavow violence in its quest to create a worldwide Islamic state. It has been banned in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan and since February 2003 in Russia, where it is branded a terrorist organization.

One of the suspects detained in Nizhny Novgorod by police and officers of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, is an Uzbek citizen, FSB officials said Friday, Itar-Tass reported.

Some of the others are foreigners, Itar-Tass said.

Authorities have opened a criminal case based on suspicion of terrorism, Itar-Tass quoted the FSB as saying, but it said officials were still trying to determine the intentions of the detainees and the location of any other Hizb-ut-Tahrir members.

Interfax said they could face charges of instigating or aiding in terrorist crimes.

The suspects were detained in an operation at various locations in the city, the officials said.

A duty officer at FSB headquarters in Moscow confirmed media reports about the operation but did not say when it took place. NTV television reported that the men were detained Friday morning.

Itar-Tass and state-run Rossia television reported that authorities seized two grenades from the detainees, as well as video and audiotapes and printed and handwritten materials that they told Itar-Tass “confirmed the illegal activity” of the group.

Hizb-ut-Tahrir’s London-based spokesman denies that the suspects had weapons or grenades, maintaining that his group “shuns violence”. He told The Moscow Times that he was not able even to determine “whether the men…were members.”

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