Russia plans to open a treatment center to “rehabilitate” the adherents of a banned Islamic group in the annexed Crimean peninsula, a senior Russian lawmaker said Wednesday.
Russian security agents detained dozens of people in Simferopol last week on suspicion of being members of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a pan-Islamist group banned within Russia. Russia’s human rights ombudsperson vowed last month to review the legality of a 2003 court order labeling Hizb ut-Tahrir a terrorist organization.
The Crimean Muslims spiritual council has teamed up with psychologists to create a rehabilitation program for members of Hizb ut-Tahrir, said Ruslan Balbek, a member of the State Duma’s Social and Religious Organizations Committee.
“A rehabilitation center will be established … to save those trapped in the extremist religious sect,” Balbek told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency.
He offered to exonerate those who pass the rehabilitation course, saying “a path to recovery will open to those who sincerely repent and sever ties with extremist religious sects.”
Thirteen countries have banned Hizb ut-Tahrir. The group operates freely in the United States and Britain.