27 Mar 2019 14:38

FSB reports detention of 20 Hizb ut-Tahrir followers in Crimea

MOSCOW. March 27 (Interfax) - The Federal Security Service (FSB) has reported the detention of 20 followers of the Hizb ut-Tahrir international terrorist organization [banned in Russia] in Crimea.

"A special operation carried out in the Republic of Crimea has resulted in the shutting down of a cell of the Hizb ut-Tahrir international terrorist organization. Twenty persons, including the cell's leaders and rank-and-file members, were detained," a representative of the FSB's public relations center told Interfax.

"The operative and investigative measures revealed that the cell's members were engaged in anti-constitutional activity based on the doctrine of creating the so-called 'world caliphate,' dismantling secular state institutions, and overthrowing the existent authorities by force," he said.

The cell organized secret meetings to spread "terrorist ideology [amongst residents of the peninsula] and to recruit Crimean Muslims to its ranks," the representative said.

The search of homes of the cell's members resulted in seizing numerous Hizb ut-Tahrir propaganda materials prohibited in Russia, and electronic data storage devices used for terrorist activity, he said.

The FSB carried out the operation together with the Interior Ministry and the Russian National Guard, the representative said.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada Human Rights Commissioner Liudmyla Denisova said that homes of Crimean Tatars were searched and detentions were conducted in Simferopol. "As of 11:25 a.m., 16 Crimean Tatars had been taken to the office of the FSB regional branch," Denisova said.