MOSCOW, July 27 (RAPSI, Nikolay Merkulov) – The Supreme Court has increased the sentence of Crimean resident Ruslan Zeytullayev, who was convicted of establishing in the republic a cell of Hizb ut-Tahrir terrorist organization banned in Russia, from 12 to 15 years in prison, the court’s press service told RAPSI on Thursday.

In September 2016, Zeytullayev was given 7 years behind bars for participation in terrorist activities. In December 2016, Russia’s Supreme Court reversed the sentence and ordered a retrial. During hearings in the Supreme Court, a prosecutor insisted on vacation of the judgment in order to typify the defendant’s is actions as organizing the activities of terrorist criminal association.

In April 2017, the North-Caucasus District Military Court passed a 12-year prison sentence upon Zeytullayev.

According to investigators, Zeytullayev joined Hizb ut-Tahrir terrorist organization in 2005. Law enforcement authorities believe that he established the organization’s cell in several regions of Crimea in the spring of 2014.

Hizb ut-Tahrir (the Party of Islamic Liberation), founded in Jerusalem in 1953, is banned in several Arab and Central Asian countries. Russia's Supreme Court banned the group from operating on the territory of the country in 2003, describing it as a terrorist organization.

Hizb ut-Tahrir members are regularly arrested by the police across Russia, mainly in big cities in central Russia, the Volga region and Siberia.