Human Rights Project ‘Support for Political Prisoners. Memorial’: Human rights defender Bakhrom Khamroev is a political prisoner

24 May 2022

Bakhrom Khamroev was remanded in custody on charges of justifying terrorism on account of several Facebook posts discussing religious topics

Source: Human Rights Project ‘Support for Political Prisoners. Memorial’

The Human Rights Project ‘Support for Political Prisoners. Memorial,’ in accordance with international criteria, considers human rights activist Bakhrom Khamroev a political prisoner. He is subject to a criminal prosecution for posts on his personal Facebook page. In our opinion, Khamroev is being prosecuted solely for his political and religious beliefs and human rights activities. The actions with which Khamroev has been charged do not constitute a crime and his detention on remand is clearly inappropriate.

We demand that Bakhrom Khamroev be released from custody and that the charges against him be dropped.

Who is Bakhrom Khamroev and what are the charges against him?

Bakhrom Khamroev is a Russian human rights activist and head of the Yordam Foundation for Legal and Social Support for Migrants. He was a member of Memorial Human Rights Centre until that organisation’s liquidation in April 2022 and is an activist with the Uzbek opposition Birlik People’s Movement.

On the morning of 24 February 2022, Khamroev’s apartment was searched in connection with an investigation into public incitement of terrorism on the Internet (Article 205.2, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code). According to investigators, the human rights activist ‘promoted terrorism’ in six posts on his personal Facebook page by publishing materials allegedly related to the activities of the Islamic party Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is banned in Russia.

On 25 February 2022 Moscow’s Meshchansky district court ordered that Khamroev be remanded in custody. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.

Why do we consider Khamroev a political prisoner?

Having studied the materials of the case, we have concluded that the criminal prosecution of Khamroev is politically motivated and unlawful.

An analysis of the texts with which Khamroev is charged shows that four of the six posts had nothing to do with Hizb ut-Tahrir. The remaining two posts directly refer to Hizb ut-Tahrir, but do not contain incitement to violence.

As in other cases related to Hizb ut-Tahrir, the experts to whom the prosecution refers have not conducted a substantive analysis of specific materials but proceed from the assumption that any mention of the organisation in the given materials is sufficient grounds to constitute propaganda of terrorism. Such a conclusion is erroneous and illegitimate.

The political nature of the prosecution is also indicated by the fact that Bakhrom Khamroev’s activities to protect the rights of Russian Muslims and migrants from Central Asia have attracted the attention of both Russian and Uzbek special services for many years. Numerous examples of Khamroev’s unlawful persecution have been well documented by journalists.

A final point is that the charges against Khamroev, formerly a member of Memorial Human Rights Centre, of justifying terrorism appear closely linked to the attempt to make similar accusations against the Human Rights Centre itself. Assertions that Memorial Human Rights Centre was allegedly engaged in the justification of terrorism were part of the lawsuit filed in November 2021 by the Moscow City Prosecutor’s Office. In turn, it was the criminal case against Khamroev that served as the grounds for the searches of the organisation’s premises in March 2022.

More information about this case and the position of Memorial Human Rights Centre is available on our Telegram channel.

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

How you can help

You can write a letter to Bakhrom Khamroev at the following address:

In Russian: 111020, г. Москва, ул. Лефортовский вал, д. 5, к. 2, СИЗО-2 ФСИН России, Хамроеву Бахрому Мардоновичу 1963 г. р.

In English: Bakhrom Mardonovich Khamroev (born 1963), Remand Centre No. 2, Federal Penitentiary Service, 5 – 2 Lefortovsky Val Street, Moscow 111020.

You can donate money to all political prisoners via the YooMoney account of the Union of Solidarity with Political Prisoners.

Translated by Rights in Russia

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