We demand that Adiev, Khafizov, Zaripov, Valiullin, Uzbekov, Saitov, Davletshin and Khevronin be released.
Memorial Human Rights Centre believes that Azat Adiev, Asgat Khafizov, Radik Zaripov, Albert Valiullin, Timur Uzbekov, Lenar Saitov, Ruzim Davletshin and Pavel Khevronin are political prisoners.
All the defendants have been charged with offences under Article 205.5, Section 1 (organizing activities of a terrorist organization) and Article 282.2, Section 1 (organizing activities of an extremist organization) of the Russian Criminal Code. The charges related solely to the alleged involvement of the defendants in the international religious organization Hizb ut-Tahrir, designated as a terrorist organization by decision of the Supreme Court of Russia in 2003. Article 205.5, under which the activities of the followers of Hizb ut-Tahrir are classified as those of a terrorist organization, was introduced into the Russian Criminal Code in November 2013. Earlier actions of the defendants fall under Article 282.2.
In addition, Adiev and Saitov are also charged under Article 150, Section 4 (inducing a minor to commit a very serious crime) in relation to an alleged attempt to attract a male minor to the activities of Hizb ut-Tahrir; for their part, Davletshin and Khevronin are also charged under Article 205.1, Section 1 (financing terrorism) of the Russian Criminal Code. The prosecution considers that the latter two each collected between 500 and 1,000 roubles to print the organization’s books and brochures.
Under the Criminal Code, a person may be sentenced to life imprisonment for the organization of a cell of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Russia.
On a number of occasions we have expressed our disagreement with the position adopted by the Supreme Court in designating Hizb ut-Tahrir a terrorist organization. There is no evidence that this association, which acts as a political party in countries of the Middle East, is complicit in even a single act of terrorism. In the countries of Western Europe and North America the party is not banned (with the exception of Germany, where the organization is banned on account of anti-Israel rhetoric, but not for terrorist activity).
The activities of the defendants, as literally stated in these and other similar court rulings, amounted to coming together for the purpose of reading and discussing religious literature, as well as discussing religion and politics. The FSB has even stated that the material elements of the crime include the use of programmes for the encryption of data (TrueCrypt) and the discussion of how to behave during questioning. However, there is no reference to any acts of terrorism. We consider that the ideology of Hizb ut-Tahrir, despite the fact that it rejects the ideas of democracy and human rights in the Western sense, is disseminated by its adherents without violence or incitement to violence and represents a low level of public danger. It therefore cannot serve as justification for pre-trial detention, still less for prison terms in two-figures.
It is evident that the Hizb ut-Tahrir prosecutions number among the so-called «off the peg» cases that enable the FSB to achieve «high results» (with dozens of people convicted) at minimal effort. The toughening of anti-terrorism legislation and the introduction of Article 205.5 into the Criminal Code make possible a large number of prosecutions where there is in fact no evidence of any crime whatsoever. We demand an end to what is nothing more than an imitation of efforts to combat terrorism. We demand that Adiev, Khafizov, Zaripov, Valiullin, Uzbekov, Saitov, Davletshin and Khevronin be released.
Recognition of an individual as a political prisoner, or of a prosecution as politically motivated, does not imply that Memorial Human Rights Centre shares or approves the individual’s views, statements or actions.
For more information about the case of the eight residents of Kazan charged with involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir, see here.
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