Russia detains Hizb ut-Tahrir members in Moscow
MOSCOW - Russian police detained six members of a banned Islamist organisation for spreading extremist literature and recruiting followers in the capital Moscow, officials said Monday.
Six leaders and active members of Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation) were "leading active recruitment work in Moscow mosques, and spreading extremist literature," Moscow police's anti-extremism department said.
The organisation is banned in Russia following a Supreme Court decision to recognise it as a terrorist group.
Police and Russia's FSB security service raided the suspects' homes, "finding and seizing nine grenades, weapons, cartridges, extremist literature and recruitment manuals," the statement said.
The detainees are from Central Asian countries Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, police spokesman Vladimir Konovalov added, though it was unclear whether they have been naturalised in Russia.
"Most likely there will be a criminal case launched into extremism," he said.
Hizb ut-Tahrir has its headquarters in Britain and aims to establish an Islamic state, according to its website. It has been banned in many countries and pursued with particular vigour in the Muslim but highly secular ex-Soviet Central Asian states.
In Russia, the group has been active in the mainly Muslim regions of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan, where several men were convicted last year of belonging to the extremist organisation and sentenced to lengthy prison terms.
The Russian website of Hizb ut-Tahrir said that 60 Muslims were detained in Moscow, Moscow region, and Bashkortostan's main city Ufa, accusing police of "planting grenades and weapons on some of them."