It is evident that the case of Hizb ut-Tahrir is one of the so-called “off the shelf” cases that enable the FSB to achieve “high results” (dozens of convictions) with minimal effort.
Memorial Human Rights Centre considers Amir Khakimullin, Ilshat Battalov, Marat Dindarov, Ibrakhim Shavkatov and Ramil Gatalullin as political prisoners.
Khakimullin and Battalov have been convicted of offences under Article 205.5 (Section 1) (organising activities of a terrorist organisation) of the Russian Criminal Code and both have been sentenced to 17 years in a strict-regime prison colony. Dindarov and Gataullin have been sentenced to seven years, and Shavkatov to six years, in a general-regime prison colony for offences under Article 205.5 (Section 2) (participating in activities of a terrorist organisation) of the Russian Criminal Code.
The charges were exclusively related to the defendants’ participation in the international religious organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir, designated as a terrorist organisation by the Supreme Court of Russia in 2003. We have repeatedly expressed our disagreement with the stance taken by the Supreme Court in designating Hizb ut-Tahrir a terrorist organisation. There is no evidence that this group, which functions legally as a political party in 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 (except in Germany, where the organisation is banned for anti-Israel rhetoric, but not for terrorism).
The defendants have been deprived of liberty, as in similar cases, for attending “illegal agitational meetings,” for seeking to persuade other Muslims to join the party, for studying and having in their possession literature from Hizb ut-Tahrir, and for taking “conspiratorial” measures (switching off telephones at meetings, using software to encrypt data). There has been no question of acts of terrorism being committed, nor of any other activity that presents a danger to the public. We consider that, despite the fact that Hizb ut-Tahrir does not share the ideas of democracy and human rights in a Western sense, the public danger presented by this ideology, which is disseminated without violence or incitement to violence, is low and cannot serve as justification for suspects being remanded in custody, still less for two-figure prison terms to be handed down.
It is evident that the case of Hizb ut-Tahrir is one of the so-called “off the shelf” cases that enable the FSB to achieve “high results” (dozens of convictions) with minimal effort. The toughening of anti-terrorism law and the addition of Article 205.5 to the Criminal Code has enabled a large number of prosecutions for which there is no basis whatsoever. We demand that this false imitation of a struggle against terrorism be ended, and that Khakimullin, Battalov, Dindarov, Shavkatov and Gataullin 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.
More information about the case of the five residents of Kazan, charged with participation in Hizb ut-Tahrir, is available on the website of Memorial Human Rights Centre.
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