They should be immediately released
The Memorial Human Rights Centre, in line with international guidelines defining the term ‘political prisoner,’ considers Niyaz Ziyattinov and Artur Valov political prisoners and demands their immediate release. Both have been charged with participating in, and financing, the organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami, which is banned in Russia.
On 24 April 2018 in Kazan Niyaz Ziyattinov and Artur Valov were arrested. They were charged with participating in, and financing, the organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami, banned in Russia since September 2013.
On 15 July 2019 Ziyattinov and Valov were taken from Kazan to Samara. Their case was transferred to the Volga District Military Court.
The alleged terrorist activity of the suspects consisted of reading religious literature, finding new supporters, holding joint meetings and other activities criminalised solely because of the ‘terrorist’ status of Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is banned in Russia.
The alleged financing of the activities of the organisation in question consisted of contributions to print literature and hold meetings, as well as donations for the families of those remanded in custody in similar cases. According to the investigators in the case, Ziyattinov donated at least 3,000 roubles for activities of this kind, and Valov 1,500 roubles.
Both suspects reject the charges of terrorist activity and of funding such activity.
Memorial considers the designation of Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami as a terrorist organisation to be unlawful. Russia is the only country in the world that has classified the organisation as terrorist. The decision of the Supreme Court in one go banned the activity of a large number of Islamic organisations. It contains only one paragraph of three sentences that deals with Hizb ut-Tahrir. The ruling contained no evidence of the organisation’s terrorist activity.
Recognition of an individual as a political prisoner, or of a prosecution as politically motivated, does not imply that the Memorial Human Rights Centre shares or approves the individual’s views, statements or actions.
More information about the case and the opinion of the Memorial Human Rights Centre is available on our website.
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