Tajik court jails 10 men for religious extremism

A Tajik court sentenced 10 men to up to 16 years in prison for being members of a banned religious extremist group, a judge said Friday.

The men from the northern Soghd region were local leaders of Hizb-ut-Tahrir, a group seeking the creation of a worldwide Islamic state.

Judge Ismoil Rakhmatov of the Khujand city court in northern Tajikistan said the 10 received prison sentences ranging from nine to 16 years after being convicted Thursday of inciting religious hatred and calling for the violent overthrow of the government.

The same court last week found nine women guilty of the same charges.

Hizb-ut-Tahrir, which claims to reject violence, has attracted members throughout the region since the 1991 Soviet collapse.

Tajikistan, an ex-Soviet republic that borders Pakistan and China, is one of the world's poorest countries and has been troubled by drug trafficking from neighboring Afghanistan as well as religious extremism, reports the AP.

I.L.