‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’: Ten Muslims from Tiumen, sentenced to terms of imprisonment on charges of alleged involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir, are political prisoners

13 October 2022

Ten Muslims have been sentenced to terms of imprisonment ranging from 11 to 18 years on charges of terrorism, even though no evidence, even of incitement to violence, was presented at their trial

Source: Telegram

The human rights project ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’ considers Alim Timkanov, Marat Saibatalov, Ruslan Bariev, Aidar Tashbulatov, Damir Abdrafikov, Rafis Idrisov, Ruslan Fomin, Farrukh Makhkamov, Shakhboz Makhmudov and Turatbek Osmonkulov to be political prisoners in accordance with international standards. The ten men were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment solely on account of alleged involvement in the Islamic party Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami, which is banned in Russia. This prosecution of Muslims in Tiumen is in blatant violation of the right to freedom of religion and association.

We demand the immediate release of the ten Muslims convicted in Tiumen and that all criminal charges against them be dropped.

What were the charges laid against the ten Muslims in Tiumen?

On 18 November 2019 searches were conducted at various addresses in Tiumen. FSB officers then detained ten Muslims on charges of involvement in the activities of the Islamic party Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami, which is banned in Russia. Those detained were: Alim Timkanov, Marat Saibatalov, Ruslan Bariev, Aidar Tashbulatov, Damir Abdrafikov, Rafis Idrisov, Ruslan Fomin, Farrukh Makhkamov, Shakhboz Makhmudov and Turatbek Osmonkulov.

Subsequently, Shakhboz Makhmudov recounted that while his home was being searched he was tortured by electric shocks. Farrukh Makhkamov also reported that he was tortured with electric shocks and threats of sexual violence, as a result of which he signed documents as requested by the investigators. The law enforcement authorities refused to investigate the allegations of torture.

On 21 November 2019, the Central District court in Tiumen remanded all ten detained Muslims in custody. Alim Timkanov and Marat Saibatalov were charged with organising the activities of a terrorist organisation (Article 205.5, Part 1, of the Russian Criminal Code) while the others were charged with participation in the activities of a terrorist organisation (Article 205.5, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code).

As evidence of terrorist activities by the arrested Muslims, the investigation presented recordings of joint meetings, prayers and tea parties at which those detained had discussed the political situation in the world and matters of faith.

The case went to court on 24 December 2021 and already on 4 August 2022 the Central District military court passed sentence.

Alim Timkanov was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment. Marat Saibatalov was given 17 years’ imprisonment, of which he must serve the first six years in a prison, the rest in a strict regime penal colony.

Ruslan Bariev was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment, Aidar Tashbutalov and Shakhboz Makhmudov to 13 years, Damir Abdrafikov and Ruslan Fomin to 12 years, Farrukh Makhkamov, Rafis Idrisov and Turatbek Osmankulov to 11 years. They were sentenced to serve the first five years of their sentences in a prison, with the subsequent period in a strict regime penal colony.

Why do we consider the ten Muslims from Tiumen political prisoners?

The investigation in the case of the ten Muslims did not provide the court with any evidence of terrorist activities, of conducting or preparing terrorist attacks, of storing ammunition, or even of inciting violence. The entire charges were based solely on the fact that the men had participated in Hizb ut-Tahrir activities, holding joint meetings, celebrations and tea parties after Friday prayers and talking about religion and how the world could be better organised.

Of course, the notions of Hizb ut-Tahrir’s supporters about an ideal world order are in many ways incompatible with ideas of democracy and human rights. However, Hizb ut-Tahrir explicitly rejects violence as a means of achieving its goals and the organisation’s supporters in Russia have also never supported violent methods of struggle or prepared terrorist acts.

However, the court stated that no evidence of terrorist activity was needed in order to hand down a conviction for terrorist offences on the grounds that the designation by the Russian Supreme Court of Hizb ut-Tahrir as a terrorist organisation is sufficient.

The human rights project ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial,’ like the Memorial Human Rights Centre before it, considers this decision by the Supreme Court unfounded and unlawful. The Supreme Court decision of 2003, simultaneously banning the activities of a large number of Islamic organisations, contains only one paragraph devoted to Hizb ut-Tahrir and provides no evidence whatsoever of its terrorist activities.

In the years since the decision to designate Hizb ut-Tahrir a terrorist organisation, hundreds of Muslims have been prosecuted on charges of involvement in the organisation. Each year, the courts sentence believers to ever harsher sentences.

A more detailed description of the case and the position of the human rights project are available on our publishing platform on Telegram.

An up-to-date list of political prisoners in Russia is available on our temporary website.

Recognition of an individual as a political prisoner does not imply the ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’ project agrees with, or approves of, their views, statements, or actions.

How can you help?

You can donate to support all political prisoners via the PayPal (helppoliticalprisoners@gmail.com) or YooMoney accounts of the Union of Solidarity with Political Prisoners.

You can send letters by ordinary mail to the following address:

In Russian: 625000, г. Тюмень, ул. Ялуторовская, д. 42, стр. 2, ФКУ СИЗО-1 УФСИН России по Тюменской области:

  • Абдрафиков Дамир Винерович, 1978 г. р.
  • Бариев Руслан Абдулганиевич, 1976 г. р.
  • Идрисов Рафис, 1971 г. р.
  • Махкамов Фаррух Фарходбекович, 1988 г. р.
  • Махмудов Шахбоз Равшанбекович, 1991 г. р.
  • Фомин Руслан Викторович, 1986 г. р.
  • Сайбаталов Марат Темербулатович, 1972 г. р.
  • Тимканов Алим Рахимович, 1975 г. р.
  • Осмонкулов Туратбек, 1992 г. р.
  • Ташбулатов Айдар Ренатович, 1992 г. р.

In English: Remand Prison No. 1, Russian Federal Penitentiary Service for Tiumen Region, 42, Building 2, Yalutorovskaya Street, Tiumen, 625000, Russia:

  • Damir Vinerovich Abdrafikov (born 1978)
  • Ruslan Abdulganievich Bariev (born 1976)
  • Rafis Idrisov (born 1971)
  • Farrukh Farkhodbekovich Makhkamov (born 1988)
  • Shakhboz Ravshanbekovich Makhmudov (born 1991)
  • Ruslan Viktorovich Fomin (born 1986)
  • Marat Temerbulatovich Saibatalov (born 1972) 
  • Alim Rakhimovich Timkanov (born 1975)
  • Turatbek Osmonkulov (born 1992)
  • Aidar Renatovich Tashbulatov (born 1992)

Translated by Simon Cosgrove

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