Hearings on the “Case of Hizb ut-Tahrir”, in which four Crimean Tatars are accused of participating in an international terrorist organization, have begun in Russia’s North Caucasus District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don, Korrespondent.net reported.
The defendants include Ruslan Zeytullaeva, Ferati Sayfullaeva, Rustem Vaitova and Nuri Primova.
Charges were initially filed against the four Crimean Tatars on April 28th. They were arrested last winter in the Crimean city of Sevastopol.
Russia labeled Hizb ut-Tahrir a terrorist organization in 2003. Following the annexation of the Crimea in 2014, local members of the group were arrested by Russian authorities.
The degree to which Hizb ut-Tahrir is indeed a radical organization is controversial, but it has been banned in Germany, Russia, China, Egypt, Turkey, and all but three Arab countries. Some observers believe it is subject to unjust and untrue allegations of connections to terrorism, as the organization has never been “overtly involved” in terrorism or even any “violent actions".
Others have argued that the group is extremist and plays a large role in the radicalization of young Muslim men.
The head of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, Refat Chubarov, recently stated that 18 Crimean Tatars are currently being held in Russian prisons.