MOSCOW, February 17 (RAPSI) – A court in Tajikistan sentenced 13 members of the prohibited extremist group Jamaat Ansarullah to prison terms varying from nine to twelve years, RIA Novosti reported on Tuesday, citing spokesperson of Tajikistan's Supreme Court.

Jamaat Ansarullah is the Tajikistani branch of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). The Tajik Supreme Court banned it as an extremist religious organization in May 2012.

The court’s representative said that the 13 men, aged between 26 and 42 years, were arrested in November 2014 in Khujand. The police acted on information according to which a group of men who returned from Russia, where they were in search of employment, were collecting funds and recruiting young men for the jihad (holy war) in Syria.

Two leaders of this group have been sentenced to 12 years in prison each, and the other 11 members of the group were given prison sentences ranging between nine and 10 years.

They were charged under criminal code articles with the organization of a criminal group, instigating the overthrow of the government, organization of an extremist group, illegal possession of weapons and munitions, and masterminding an extremist organization.