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SIMFEROPOL, April 13. /TASS/. Five people have been detained in Crimea on Thursday during an operation aimed at establishing those associated with the Hizb ut-Tahrir organization, outlawed in Russia, Crimea’s Chief Directorate of the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
"During searches conducted in two local residents’ dwellings, computers, cell phones and extremist literature were seized," the statement reads. One of the two, a young man of 22, has been charged with organizing mass gatherings resulting in public disorder as well as with demonstrating symbols of extremist organizations. The other has been charged with producing and spreading extremist content. The information has been forwarded to the Bakhchysarai District Court that will make a decision, the Chief Directorate’s press service said.
According to police sources, during the searches, several people were trying to stop the law enforcement officers so one of them had to fire in the air to prevent a group assault.
"After that, three people were detained," the press service added. All information was forwarded to the local branch of the Russian Investigative Committee so that a case could be launched under article 318 of the Russian Criminal Code (violence against authorities).
Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami (the Party of Islamic Liberation) is an international religious and political organization founded in 1953. Its goal is to remove all non-Islamic governments and bring Muslims back to the "truly Islamic way of life".
Russia’s Supreme Court banned Hizb ut-Tahrir in 2003 designating it as a terrorist organization.
In April 2016, Natalya Poklonskaya, Crimea’s then Prosecutor-General who is currently a member of Russia’s State Duma (lower house of parliament), told TASS that a Hizb ut-Tahrir cell had operated in Crimea for many years. The organization was not outlawed when Crimea was part of Ukraine.
As TASS reported earlier, in 2016, eleven suspected Hizb ut-Tahrir members, who had allegedly taken part in the activities of the organization’s local cells, were arrested in Crimea.