Russian Supreme Court upholds imam’s sentence for justifying terrorism
MOSCOW, August 1 (RAPSI, Nikolay Merkulov) – The Supreme Court of Russia on Tuesday upheld a 3-year prison sentence given to Moscow imam Makhmud Velitov for justifying terrorism, RAPSI reports from the courtroom.
The court dismissed an appeal lodged by Velitov. The sentence took effect.
On September 23, 2013, Velitov, being a council chair and imam of a religious organization, made a public speech justifying activity of one of Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami terrorist organization’s members during a prayer in a Moscow mosque, according to the Investigative Committee. This organization has been banned by Russia’s Supreme Court.
According to the forensic examination, the imam’s speech contained a set of psychological and linguistic features of justifying terrorist activities.
Defense insisted that Velitov had performed a religious ritual allowed by canons of Islam regarding a deceased Muslim.
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. Also, there are many supporters in Crimea, which rejoined Russia in the spring of 2014.