28 January 2020
If convicted, Nizamov faces a possible life sentence
Source: Memorial Human Rights Centre
Eduard Nizamov has been charged with organising the activities of a terrorist group (Article 205.5, Section 1, of the Russian Criminal Code), financing terrorism (Article 205.1, Section 1) and preparing the violent seizure of power and alteration of the constitutional order (Article 30, Section 1; Article 278). According to law enforcement agencies, in 2013-18 he headed the Russian branch of the international religious and political organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami, which has been designated a terrorist organisation in Russia. Investigators in the case claim Nizamov organised the work of the movement and its financing, intending to build a theocratic Islamic state, or Caliphate. The charges are not supported by any real evidence. The prosecution is, in the first instance, a result of the formal terrorist status of Hizb ut-Tahrir. Memorial Human Rights Centre considers Nizamov a political prisoner, according to international guidelines defining the term, and demands his immediate release.
A businessman and father of six children, Eduard Nizamov was detained on 10 October 2018 in Kazan. In November 2019, his trial opened at the Central District Military Court in Ekaterinburg.
Memorial Human Rights Centre has studied the charges laid against Nizamov and concluded that his prosecution is politically motivated.
Memorial considers the designation of Hizb ut-Tahrir as a terrorist organisation unfounded and unlawful. The 2003 ruling of the Supreme Court at one sweep banned the activities of a large group of Islamic organisations, with one paragraph of three sentences devoted to Hizb ut-Tahrir that contained no evidence of the organisation’s terrorist activities.
It was precisely the designation of the organisation as terrorist that permitted any of its activities to be found to be ‘terrorist.’ Meetings, tea drinking sessions and prayers all became ‘terrorist activity.’ The purchase of literature and collection of donations to help those with the same beliefs who were arrested were counted as the financing of terrorism. Activities in the streets and on the internet became preparation for the violent seizure of power and alteration of the constitutional order.
The charge that Nizamov engaged in preparing to seize power arose out of a formal combination of the ideological premises of Hizb ut-Tahrir and the documentation of road races, tea drinking sessions and theological debates. According to investigators in the case, if the ideal form of state for some Muslims is a Caliphate, then any of their activities are a threat to the Russian state. And therefore Nizamov, declared to be the leader of the movement, is the main conspirator and rebel.
In the years since Hizb ut-Tahrir was designated a terrorist organisation, hundreds of Muslims have been criminally prosecuted on charges related to participation in the organisation. With each year, courts sentence defendants in these cases to ever longer terms in prison colonies (up to 24 years in a strict regime prison colony). At the present time, at least 298 people are behind bars on these charges.
You can read more about the case of Nizamov and the position taken by Memorial on our website.
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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Reprinted by kind permission of Memorial Human Rights Centre