DUSHANBE, January 10, 2012, Asia-Plus  -- Some 200 members of various terrorist and religious extremist groups were arrested in Tajikistan last year, Abduqodir Muhammadiyev, First Deputy Prosecutor-General, announced at a news conference in Dushanbe on January 10.

“168 of them have already been convicted and are currently serving their terms in penal colonies,” Muhammadiyev noted.

According to him, major part of terrorists and extremists arrested in the country last year are members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).

“Criminal case of 33 members of the IMU moved to the Sughd regional court on December 30, 2011,” the deputy prosecutor-general stressed.

Mahmadjon Khairulloyev, the head of the Prosecutor-General’s Office department for overseeing the implementation of laws by the national security bodies, added that prosecutor’s offices last year instituted 17 criminal proceedings against members of the outlawed religious extremist Hizb ut-Tahrir group, four criminal proceedings against members of Jamiyati Tablighot and two criminal proceedings against a large group of alleged IMU members.

We will recall that the Supreme Court in January 2006 banned 10 organizations as extremist on the basis of a suit filed by the Prosecutor-General''s Office.  The list includes the Islamic Party of Turkestan, Harakati Tablighot, Jamiyati Tablighot, Al-Qaeda, Sozmoni Tabligh, and Tojikistoni Ozod (Free Tajikistan).

Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and Bayat have been banned in Tajikistan since 2000.

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.  The ruling means even tighter restrictions on the group''s presence on the Internet and its use of media to promote its ideology.