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BBC man on trial over banned group

A BBC journalist has gone on trial in Tajikistan charged with belonging to a banned radical Islamic group, despite an international outcry over the case.

Urunboi Usmonov's lawyer said a court in the northern city of Khujand is also considering whether the reporter assisted Hizb ut-Tahrir by failing to inform authorities of his meetings with group members.

The BBC said the charges are unfounded and that any meetings Usmonov had with Hizb ut-Tahrir members was for purely journalistic purposes.

The case has drawn widespread international criticism, including from the United States and the European Union.

Tajikistan has in recent years taken strong measures to stamp out Hizb ut-Tahrir as part of broader measures to limit the influence of radical Islam in the Central Asian nation.

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