Moscow imam asks court to overturn his sentence for justifying terrorism
MOSCOW, December 5 (RAPSI) – Moscow imam Makhmud Velitov, convicted of justifying terrorism, has filed an appeal with the Supreme Court’s Presidium seeking to overturn the sentence, his lawyer Dagir Khasavov told RAPSI on Tuesday.
“Presidium of the Supreme Court has a chance to amend the injustice before the appeal's review in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR),” Khasavov said.
On August 1, the Supreme Court upheld a 3-year prison sentence given to Velitov.
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 prohibited 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.