Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) announced today that it had arrested 20 members of the terrorist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami in the Crimean Peninsula. The FSB wrote that those arrested allegedly “promoted terrorist ideology among the residents of the peninsula and carried out recruitment efforts to fill their ranks among Crimean Muslims.”
FSB agents attempted and failed to arrest four more individuals. The agents searched 25 homes belonging to Crimean Tatars in Simferopol and the Belogorsk district, according to Ukrinform. Lutfiye Zudiyeva, an activist involved in the Crimean Solidarity movement, published the names of 27 people who may have been affected by the searches.
After the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, Russian security services began arresting suspected members of Hizb ut-Tahrir. Their attorneys have argued that the arrests are a result of religious persecution against Crimean Muslims. The Crimean Human Rights Group has reported that 32 people were sentenced to jail time for alleged participation in the terrorist group before February 2019.