KHUJAND, November 27, 2012, Asia-Plus  -- The trial of seven alleged activists of the outlawed religious extremist Hizb ut-Tahrir group, including three women and one minor, began in pretrial detention facility # 2 in Khujand, the capital of Sughd province on November 26.

Proceedings reportedly started with the reading of the indictment, which charges them of organization of and participation in an extremist grouping, incitement of ethnic, racial or religious enmity and public calls for the forcible overthrow of or change to the constitutional order of Tajikistan.

Judge Shuhrat Ahrorov, who is presiding over the trial, says that those alleged Hizb ut-Tahrir activists were arrested by security officers in the province from September 4 to September 9 this year.

“They voluntarily joined the Hizb ut-Tahrir group in 2000 and they have been engaged in recruiting new members and spreading the Hizb ut-Tahrir leaflets,” the judge said. 

According to him, two of them – M.E., 28, from Isfara and S.H., 36, from the Zafarobod district – admitted that they are members of the Hizb ut-Tahrir group and waived a counsel.

It is to be noted that 10 other members of this Hizb ut-Tahrir cell have already been jailed.

According to data of the Sughd prosecutor’s office, cases of 56 activists of the Hizb ut-Tahrir group have moved to courts in the area over the first half-year of 2012.

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.  Although the group has been outlawed in Tajikistan since April 2001, the ruling means even tighter restrictions on the group''s presence on the Internet and its use of media to promote its ideology.