Security authorities in the Siberian cities of Kemerovo and Novosibirsk say they have apprehended an unspecified number of supporters of the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir Islamic group.
The Federal Security Service (FSB) said on April 21 that alleged members of the group that was banned in the country in 2003 "carried out anti-constitutional activities based on the doctrine of creating a world caliphate." It did not say how many suspects have been apprehended. Authorities in Russia and some other former Soviet republics say Hizb ut-Tahrir plays a role in a strategy used by Al-Qaeda and Islamic State militants to radicalize young people and recruit them to join radical Islamists in Syria and Iraq.
Hizb ut-Tahrir is a London-based Sunni political organization that seeks to unite all Muslim countries into an Islamic caliphate.
Banned in Russia and Central Asia, Hizb ut-Tahrir says it is a peaceful movement. Human rights groups have criticized the government's "abuse" of counterterrorism laws and the use of "secret witnesses" and other methods in prosecuting critics and religious groups to silence dissent.