DUSHANBE, August 18, 2016, Asia-Plus – Two activists of the outlawed religious Hizb ut-Tahrir group have been jailed in St. Petersburg, according to Russian media outlets.

RBC (Russian Business Consulting) reports the Moscow district military court has held an assize in St. Petersburg to consider criminal proceedings instituted against three members of the Hizb ut-Tahrir Group.  On August 17, the court sentenced Karim Ibragimov and Eldar Ramazanov to 19 years in each and Ilyas Kagirov to six years in prison.  Ibragimov and Ramazanov will service their terms in a high-security penal colony.

Ibragimov and Ramazanov were reportedly found guilty of creating Hizb ut-Tahrir cells and the group’s media office in St. Petersburg as well as the online extremist video channel.

They were reportedly in propagating the Hizb ut-Tahrir ideas in St. Petersburg and recruiting other people, including Ilyas Kagirov, to Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Ilyas Kagirov got a jail term of six years.

Established in 1952, Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation) is a Sunni radical, political organization, which describes its “ideology as Islam,” and its aim as the re-establishment of “the Islamic Khilafah (Caliphate)” or Islamic state.  

The Supreme Court of Tajikistan formally labeled the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir Islamist group as an extremist organization on March 11, 2008.  The ruling followed a request submitted to the court by Tajik chief prosecutor.  Although the group has been outlawed in Tajikistan since April 2001, the ruling means even tighter restrictions on the group''s presence on the Internet and its use of media to promote its ideology.