Memorial considers Aidar Galeev and Ilgiz Shakurov to be political prisoners and demands their release.
In May 2018 two residents of Bashkiria were convicted of taking part in an extremist organisation under Article 282.2, Section 2, of the Russian Criminal Code. Both men were sentenced by Ufa’s Lenin district court to two years in a prison colony.
The charges related solely to the participation of the defendants in the international Islamic movement Tablighi Jamaat that was designated extremist by decision of the Supreme Court in 2009. We disagree with the position taken by the Supreme Court. There is no evidence that this group, active primarily in India and Pakistan, is associated with acts of terrorism or propaganda of violence. In the democratic countries of Western Europe and North America, Tablighi Jamaat is not banned.
The defendants were jailed, as in other analogous cases, on grounds that they organised events «urging» Muslims to act in accordance with the norms of Islam, sought to persuade other Muslims to join the movement, organised and visited religious meetings, studied and collected literature published by Tablighi Jamaat. There was no question of any activities that represented a danger to the public.
In our opinion, the conviction of Galeev and Shakurov, solely on the grounds they are participants in the Tablighi Jamaat movement, is discriminatory and violates international legal standards. The court’s decision to recognise the organisation as extremist and ban its activities in the country has no basis in law and contradicts Article 28 of the Russian Constitution which guarantees the right to freedom of conscience and religion.
It is evident that the Tablighi Jamaat case, like the cases related to Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami, is one of a series of prosecutions conducted by the FSB to achieve «high results» (dozens of convictions) with minimal effort. The increase in severity, and arbitrary application, of anti-terrorist legislation has facilitated the prosecution of a very large number of cases for which there are no grounds whatsoever. We demand this pseudo-struggle against extremism be ended. We demand the release of Aidar Galeev and Ilgiz Shakurov.
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 this case is available here.
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