Friday, July 20, 2012 -
A Tajik court will soon begin proceedings against 56 individuals accused of membership in illegal Islamist groups.
“The Prosecutor’s Office of the Sughd region completed its investigation as part of seven criminal cases opened against religious extremists,” the Interfax news agency reported Sughd Region Prosecutor Sharif Kurbonov as saying.
“Fifty-six defendants will be put on trial in the near future.”
Massive trials of this sort have become more commonplace in the Central Asian country in recent months, as authorities try to crack down on membership in groups deemed illegal.
Fifty-four of the defendants are being charged with membership in the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), while two are charged with illegal membership in the Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) terror group.
All of the defendants hail from the north of Tajikistan, located in the Ferghana Valley which is also shared by portions of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. The valley’s residents have a reputation for being religiously conservative and for being a hotbed of religious fundamentalism.