‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’: Farit Sharifullin is a political prisoner

23 November 2023

Farit Sharifullin faces a sentence of up to life imprisonment on charges related to alleged involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir. 

Source: Telegram

The human rights project ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial,’ in accordance with international standards, considers Farit Sharifullin a political prisoner. Sharifullin is being prosecuted solely for alleged involvement in the Islamic party Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami, which is banned in Russia. Sharifullin’s prosecution violates his rights to freedom of religion and association.

We demand the immediate release of Farit Sharifullin from custody and that all criminal charges against him be dropped.

Who is Farit Sharifullin and what is he accused of?

Farit Sharifullin, a Muslim from Kazan, was detained, together with Marsel Gimaliev, in Bryansk region on 14 February 2020.

A criminal case had been opened in 2017 against Gimaliev for involvement in the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir. In March of that year he had been placed under house arrest, from which he escaped. He remained in hiding until his arrest in February 2020. Memorial considers Gimaliev a political prisoner.

On 19 February 2020, a criminal case was also opened against Sharifullin for alleged involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir. He was accused of organising the activities of a terrorist organisation (Article 205.5, Part 1, of the Russian Criminal Code), financing terrorist activities (Article 205.1, Part 1, of the Russian Criminal Code) and possession of forged documents (Article 327, Part 4, of the Russian Criminal Code).

According to the Investigative Committee, between 2015 and 2017 Sharifullin organised and ran more than 50 training seminars for Hizb ut-Tahrir participants in Kazan and took part in at least 12 meetings of Hizb ut-Tahrir activists in Tatarstan. In addition, according to investigators, Sharifullin collected contributions for the printing of party literature in support of political prisoners arrested on charges of involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir. Finally, according to the investigators, at the time of his arrest Sharifullin had a fake driver’s licence, which was in someone else’s name, in his possession.

Subsequently, Sharifullin was remanded in custody and was then taken first to Kazan and then to Ekaterinburg where his case has been heard by the Central District Military Court since January 2021.

Why do we consider Farit Sharifullin a political prisoner?

Investigators in Farit Sharifullin’s case presented no evidence of actual terrorist activities, of the conduct or preparation of terrorist attacks, of possessing ammunition, or even of inciting violence. The charges are based solely on the fact that Sharifullin took part in the activities of Hizb ut-Tahrir, declared a terrorist organisation by the Russian Supreme Court in 2003.

The human rights project ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial,’ as well as the Memorial Human Rights Centre, considers this decision of the Supreme Court unreasonable and unlawful. The Supreme Court decision, which at once banned the activities of a large group of Islamic organisations in 2003, devoted one paragraph of three sentences to Hizb ut-Tahrir. The decision contained no evidence of terrorist activities by Hizb ut-Tahrir..

In the years since the designation of Hizb ut-Tahrir as a terrorist organisation, hundreds of Muslims have been criminally prosecuted on charges related to participation in the organisation. Each year the courts impose ever more severe penalties on believers.

Finally, with regard to the charge of possessing fake documents (Article 327, Part 4, of the Russian Criminal Code), the possession of which, the investigators claim, allowed Sharifullin to ‘conceal another crime or facilitate the commission of one,’ we consider that he did not commit the crimes with which he has been charged and, moreover, the danger to society of possessing a fake driving licence is extremely low.

More information about the case of Farit Sharifullin and the position of the ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’ project is 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 send letters by ordinary mail to Farit Sharifullin at the following address:

In Russian: Россия, 620019, г. Екатеринбург, ул. Репина, д. 4, СИЗО-1 ГУФСИН России по Свердловской области, Шарифуллину Фариту Азатовичу, 1988 г. р.

In English:  Farit Azatovich Sharifullin (born 1988), Remand Prison No. 1, Russian Federal Penitentiary Service for Sverdlovsk region, 4 Repin Street, Ekaterinburg, 620019, Russia

Electronic letters can be sent via FederalPenitentiaryService-letter or Zonatelekom.

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.

Translated by Simon Cosgrove

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