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Six Tajik Imams Arrested For Alleged Ties To Banned Groups

File photo of a Tajik imam.
File photo of a Tajik imam.

Six imams in Tajikistan have been arrested on suspicion of being members of banned extremist groups.

The prosecutor's office in the northern region of Sughd told RFE/RL on April 5 that the imams were arrested last month.

The office did not name the banned groups the imams were allegedly members of.

If they are found guilty, the imams could face up to five years in jail and hefty fines.

No more details were available.

Since January 2015, dozens of people have been jailed in Tajikistan for being members of the banned Islamic group, Jamaat Ansarullah, which Tajik authorities believe is linked to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) militant group.

The IMU has ties to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and some members have declared allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group in the Middle East.

Tajik authorities have said that some 1,000 Tajik nationals are fighting alongside IS militants in Syria and Iraq.