Tajikistan police arrest woman, suspected of membership in banned Islamic group

Tajikistan police have arrested a woman suspected of membership in a banned Islamic group, authorities said Tuesday in a region where dozens of people have been detained on similar charges.

The 37-year-old woman arrested Monday is accused of being a member of Hizb-ut-Tahrir, which advocates creating an Islamic state in formerly Soviet Central Asia, a police official in northern Tajikistan's Sogdi region said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to give his name.

The woman is also accused of teaching the group's principles, police said.

Hizb-ut-Tahrir claims to reject violence, but is banned in Tajikistan and in nearby countries including Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, as well as Russia.

Asatullo Urunov, a spokesman for the regional prosecutor's office, said more than 40 suspected Hizb-ut-Tahrir members have been detained in northern Tajikistan this year. Some remain in custody, while others have been freed but their movements are restricted, he said.

Northern Tajikistan encompasses part of the impoverished, ethnically mixed Fergana Valley, a place considered a source of instability and Islamic extremism. Some of the valley also lies in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, reports the AP. I.L.

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