Uzbek “Islamist” Tashkent wants detained in Moscow
Moscow law enforcers detained several citizens of Uzbekistan on 1 March 2013. Law enforcing agencies claim they are members of a cell of the international terrorist organization Islamic Party of Turkestan. The cell allegedly recruited fighters to go to Afghanistan, Interfax reports referring to the interior ministry’s press service.
Law enforcing agencies’ data suggest Mr. Abdukhofiz Kholmurodov, one of the detainees, is the leader of the organization’s “Moscow cell” and is internationally wanted charged with Article 159 (attempts to overthrow the constitutional order) and Point 1 of Article 244-2 (leading or participating in illegal religious extremist organizations) of the Uzbek Crime Code.
The Main Directorate for Combating Extremism in Moscow, a Moscow suburb police and the Federal Security Service arrested Mr. Kholmurodov during a special operation. Several forged documents were seized from the detained suspect, including a Tajik passport with traces of forgery. Mr. Kholmurodov’s extradition preparations are currently underway.
The special operation in question was launched early 2013 and is aimed at identifying leaders and members of the terrorist organization in the Moscow region. According to information received earlier, they have sent 38 Uzbek citizens and 18 Central Asian nationals from Moscow and Moscow Region to training camps in 2012. In February 2013, two more Uzbek citizens were detained; computers and photocopying devices, book publishing equipment, mobile phones, martial arts inventory, and literature was seized from them. Preparations for their extradition to Uzbekistan are underway.
The Russian human rights advocates, familiar with such cases, say that Uzbekistan charges the suspects with entirely abstract anti-government crimes reportedly committed based on religious motives.
“Analyses of such charges make it apparent that they are pegged in one’s religious beliefs. The charges in question are characteristic for those cases, when [the authorities] have no specific crimes to charge the suspects with,” Yelena Ryabinina, the head of the Pravo Na Ubezhische [The Right for Refuge] program under the Institute for Human Rights, says.