MOSCOW – Nine men were charged Friday with organizing cells of a banned Islamist group and illegal possession of guns, explosives and fake U.S. dollars and euros, Russian police said
Five of the nine men are leaders of the Russian cells of Hizb-ut-Tahrir, an anti-Western Islamist group whose name means "Party of Liberation," the Interior Ministry said.
Banned in several countries, including Russia, the group claims it does not advocate violence to achieve its goal of reestablishing the caliphate, a Muslim empire that once ruled the Middle East and stretched to Spain and Central Asia. Hizb-ut-Tahrir's critics say its ideology is not too far off from overtly militant Islamist groups.
The men, detained in Moscow on Monday, are nationals of Russia and ex-Soviet Tajikistan who rented apartments near "transport routes of federal importance" in Moscow, the ministry said in a statement.
In 2007, 12 Hizb-ut-Tahrir members were convicted and sentenced to up to eight years in jail in Russia's Volga River province of Tatarstan for inciting a coup.