In Tashkent and some regions of Uzbekistan, there were another detentions of persons suspected of extremism and terrorism. There is no official information about this operation by law enforcement agencies. As ACCA learned from its own sources, soon the cases of 6-8 people detained in late October and early November will be sent to court. All of them were granted amnesty in 2017 in the course of serving a sentence on charges of a crime against the state. At that time, more than 500 people were released.
According to Uzbek media, similar detentions followed by arrest took place last month. So, on October 16, in the Ferghana valley, law enforcement agencies carried out a special operation to eliminate the cells of Hizb ut-Tahrir. Judging by the available information, in three areas, the arrest of members of a banned organization in the country has been preparing for several months.
According to the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Uzbekistan, most of these persons had previously served sentences for participating in the religious extremist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir. They are accused of illegal propaganda among the population and the dissemination of religious ideas that contradict a secular state.
It is still unknown whether the arrested people created a terrorist danger. Upon their arrest, they had “an extremist literature that was confiscated in a procedural manner”.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs said in its statement that “most of these individuals had previously served sentences for participating in the religious extremist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir. However, despite the social, legal and moral support, they continued illegal propaganda among the population…”.
On the special operation, the Ministry of Internal Affairs issued a press release, widely published in most Uzbek media. About the detention of members of the “banned group of religious extremist movement Jihadism on October 23 in Tashkent”, only brief information appeared on the Podrobno.uz website, which was taken up mainly by Russian news aggregators.
“The authorities thought they could control the amnestied islamists,” an ACCA source said. “In practice, adherents of various religious movements have a high ideological motivation for the recruitment of new members. It is no coincidence that whole campaigns against the wearing of beards by men and Muslim clothes by women took place in the country. I think that the President Mirziyoev is very worried about reports of the concentration of militants of Uzbek nationality in the areas of Afghanistan bordering Uzbekistan.”
An indirect confirmation of this was the frequent exercises. During October, in Syrdarya and Bukhara oblasts of the region, tactical and command-and-staff exercises of special units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the National Guard, the Ministry of Defense and regional emergency departments were held. During training sessions, security forces practiced the release of hostages and the taking of armed criminals, the prevention of riots and the disposal of explosive objects.