Memorial Human Rights Centre, in line with international guidelines defining the term ‘political prisoner,’ has recognised Vilyur Baisuakov, Rustam Zainullin, Almaz Karimov, Airat Mustayev and Ruslan Ryskulov, all residents of Sterlitamak, and Renat Galimov, a resident of Kazan, as political prisoners. We demand their immediate release.
- On 15 April 2015 in the town of Sterlitamak (Republic of Bashkortostan) five Muslims were detained: Vilyur Baisuakov, Rustam Zainullin, Almaz Karimov, Airat Mustayev and Ruslan Ryskulov. They were all charged with involvement in the Islamic party Hizb ut-Tahir al-Islami, banned in Russia since September 2013.
- On 12 May 2016 Zainullin and Ryskulov were sentenced at the Volga District Military Court, presided over by Judge S. P. Krivosheyev sitting with Judge V. S. Maurin and Judge B. F. Levitsky, to six years in a general regime prison colony. Baisuakov, Karimov and Mustayev were each sentenced to five years in a general regime prison colony.
- The alleged ‘terrorist’ activity of those convicted consisted of reading of Islamic literature, attracting new supporters, conducting joint meetings and other activities considered criminal solely because of the status of Hizb ut-Tahrir as a banned terrorist organisation in Russia.
- Unlike the other defendants, who pleaded guilty and did not appeal against their convictions, Ruslan Ryskulov maintained he had had no connection with the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir since May 2013. The initial judgment and the ruling on appeal show the other defendants, who stated during the preliminary investigation that Ryskulov was involved in the organisation, withdrew this testimony during the trial. Ryskulov complained that witnesses who had testified to his alleged involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir during the preliminary investigation were not called to give evidence at the trial, while the testimonies of witnesses who could not confirm his involvement in the organisation were not taken into account.
- Renat Galimov, a resident of the town of Leninogorsk in the Republic of Tatarstan, has been charged with financing Hizb ut-Tahrir al Islami and participation in the organisation (Article 205.5, Sections 1 and 2, of the Russian Criminal Code). The Supreme Court of Russia designated Hizb ut-Tahrir as terrorist and banned the organisation in 2003. Galimov has been held on remand since 24 April 2018.
- Galimov is only guilty of being a member of an Islamic organisation. He has not been charged with preparing an act of terrorism or making threats of terrorism. The case against him contains no evidence whatsoever that he committed or planned to commit crimes of violence, still less any actions that could, from the point of view of common sense, be considered terrorism.
Memorial considers the designation of Hizb ut-Tahrir as a terrorist organisation to be unlawful. Russia is the only country in the world to have done so and the Supreme Court’s ruling, that simultaneously banned a large number of Islamic organisations, devoted just one paragraph of three sentences to Hizb ut-Tahrir, none of which contained any proof of terrorist activity.
You can read more information about the case of the five Muslims from Sterlitamak here. More information about the case of R.Galimov can be read here.
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.
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