27 March 2019, 18:04
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 Verkhovnaya Rada Human Rights Commissioner Liudmila 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.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry protested against the searches of homes and the detentions of Crimean Tatars in the Simferopol and Belogorsk Districts of Crimea on Wednesday.
Kiev expressed particular concern about the fact that the searches were linked to the Hizb ut-Tahrir case which, in the opinion of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, had already been used "to fabricate cases" against, and to convict, Crimean Tatar activists. The ministry did not rule out that "today's events might start a new wave of prosecution of Crimean Tatars" and called for an immediate international response to the Russian action, including stricter sanctions.