16 January 2023
Farit Kharisov, Timur Khabibullin and Radik Talipov, accused of terrorist offences, face long prison sentences
Source: Political Prisoners. Memorial
The human rights project, ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial,’ in accordance with international standards, considers three Muslims from Bashkortostan – Farit Kharisov, Timur Khabibullin and Radik Talipov – political prisoners. Their criminal prosecution is based on alleged involvement in the Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami party, which is banned in Russia. The prosecution of Kharisov, Khabibullin and Talipov grossly violates their rights to freedom of religion and freedom of association. They have been deprived of liberty in the absence of any evidence of acts of violence.
We demand the immediate release of Farit Kharisov, Timur Khabibullin and Radik Talipov and that all criminal charges against them be dropped.
Who are Kharisov, Khabibullin and Talipov and what are the charges against them?
Farit Kharisov, 39, Timur Khabibullin, 35, and Radik Talipov, 28, all from Ufa, were charged with involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir.
On 22 June 2021 law enforcement officers searched the homes of a number of Muslims in Bashkortostan, as a result of which the three were detained.
Kharisov was charged with organising the activities of a terrorist organisation under Article 205.5, Part 1, of the Russian Criminal Code; Khabibullin and Talipov were charged with participation in the activities of a terrorist organisation under Article 205.5, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code. If convicted, Kharisov faces life imprisonment, while Khabibullin and Talipov face up to 20 years’ imprisonment.
The charges against them amount to involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir, an organisation designated as a terrorist group and banned by the Russian Supreme Court in 2003. The indictments against the three men include evidence from witnesses who assert that during meetings that took place ‘in the format of a tea-party, a friendly meeting,’ Kharisov, Khabibullin and Talipov talked about Islam, discussed Hizb ut-Tahrir and tried to attract those invited to the tea-party to participate in the organisation. An additional proof of their guilt, according to the Investigative Committee, is literature confiscated from their homes during a search.
Why do we consider Kharisov, Khabibullin and Talipov political prisoners?
We consider the prosecutions of Farit Kharisov, Timur Khabibullin and Radik Talipov as the continuation of a long series of unfounded prosecutions for involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir.
In our view, the mere fact that an organisation has been designated a terrorist organisation is not sufficient to criminalise any actions by its real or apparent supporters. Moreover, we consider the 2003 decision of the Russian Supreme Court, which designated Hizb ut-Tahrir as terrorist, to be unfounded. The ruling contains no evidence that Hizb ut-Tahrir has engaged in terrorism. We are not aware of members of Hizb ut-Tahrir committing or preparing acts of terrorism anywhere in the world.
Kharisov, Khabibullin and Talipov have not been charged with acts of terrorism or other violent acts, or even with inciting such acts. They face long prison sentences only for alleged participation in the perfectly legitimate activity of studying Islam and discussing vital issues with co-religionists.
As in many other such cases, the evidence for the prosecution is based on very similar testimony from witnesses who are not independent of the investigators. For example, one of the witnesses was arrested at the same time as the accused, while another witness could also in principle be held criminally liable. Yet no criminal charges were laid against these two, despite the fact that both witnesses had allegedly participated in the activities of Hizb ut-Tahrir at the same time as the accused.
Further information about this case and the position of the human rights project, ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial,’ are available on our Telegram publishing platform.
An up-to-date list of political prisoners in Russia is available on our website.
Recognition of an individual as a political prisoner does not imply the project, ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial,’ agrees with, or approves of, their views, statements, or actions.
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Translated by Rights in Russia