The Southern District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don issued a new verdict in the case of the Islamic party Hizb ut-Tahrir. According to the human rights organization Crimean Solidarity, Imam Raif Fevziev was sentenced to 17 years in a strict regime colony.
According to the case card on the court website, Fevziev was accused of preparing for a violent change of power (Article 30, Article 278 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and participation in a terrorist organization (Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). The 42-year-old convict will have to spend the first three years in prison. The court also appointed him 1.5 years of restriction of freedom after his release.
“Killers are not given such terms. For a 70-minute conversation about Islam today, a person was given 17 years,” said lawyer Edem Semedlyaev, commenting on the verdict.
Testimony against Fevziev was given by secret witnesses, which, according to Crimean Solidarity, is typical of cases against Crimean Tatars. One of these witnesses said that the imam was allegedly preparing to overthrow the government. The case file also contained an audio recording dated January 15, 2016.
FSB officers came with a search to Fevziev, who lived in the village of Strogonovka, Simferopol District, in August 2021. Soon the imam was sent to a pre-trial detention center.
The military court in Rostov-on-Don handed down the previous verdict in the Hizb ut-Tahrir case the day before, on November 11. Five Crimean Tatars were given 13 years each on charges of participating in a terrorist organization and preparing for a violent seizure of power.
Hizb ut-Tahrir is an Islamic organization that operates legally in many countries around the world, including Ukraine, but is banned in Russia. After the annexation of Crimea, dozens of Crimean Muslims were arrested on charges of having links with the organization.