‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’: Kazan resident Ruslan Ilyasov convicted of participating in Hizb ut-Tahrir is a political prisoner

7 February 2023

Ruslan Ilyasov was sentenced to 19 years’ imprisonment for ‘terrorist’ offences

Source: Political Prisoners. Memorial

‘Political Prisoners. Memorial,’ a human rights project, considers Kazan resident Ruslan Ilyasov a political prisoner in accordance with international standards. His criminal prosecution was related to alleged involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami, a political party banned in Russia. Ilyasov’s prosecution is in gross violation of the rights to freedom of religion and association.

We demand that all criminal charges against Ruslan Ilyasov be dropped immediately and that he should be released from custody.

What are the charges against Ruslan Ilyasov?

Ruslan Ilyasov was detained on 16 June 2021. The next day he was remanded in custody.

Ilyasov was charged with organising the activities of a terrorist organisation (Article 205.5, Part 1, of the Russian Criminal Code) and inducement to terrorist activity (Article 205.1, Part 1.1, of the Russian Criminal Code). According to the Investigative Committee, from January 2015 until the day of his arrest Ilyasov was the head of the branch of the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir in Tatarstan, in which role he recruited several people to join the organisation and collected money from its members, including for ‘assistance to family members of its participants.’

On 9 December 2022, the Central District Military Court sentenced Ilyasov to 19 years’ imprisonment, the first five of which he must spend in a cell-type prison and the remaining 14 in a strict regime penal colony.

Why do we consider Ilyasov a political prisoner?

Ruslan Ilyasov has not been charged with committing acts of violence, preparing such acts, or even inciting them. All charges are related to the formal status of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Russia as a terrorist organisation.

We consider the 2003 decision of the Russian Supreme Court designating Hizb ut-Tahrir a terrorist organisation to be unfounded. The ruling contains no evidence that the activities of Hizb ut-Tahrir are in any way ‘terrorist.’ We are not aware of a single instance of a terrorist act committed or prepared by members of Hizb ut-Tahrir anywhere in the world.

At the same time, the decision of the Russian Supreme Court simplified the procedures for investigating ‘terrorist’ cases involving Hizb ut-Tahrir. Thenceforth, to obtain a conviction it was no longer necessary to prove the commission or preparation of a terrorist act. Russian law enforcement agencies have taken advantage of this situation to artificially inflate conviction rates for crimes of a terrorist nature. According to our data, more than 330 people have been prosecuted for belonging to Hizb ut-Tahrir.

We do not consider it proven that Ilyasov was a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir. As in many similar cases, the entire charge is based on the testimony of witnesses, one of whom is an employee of the police division known as the Centre for Combating Extremism, the identity of another has been classified, and the three others were themselves involved in Hizb ut-Tahrir activities, served terms of imprisonment for this, and have acted as witnesses for the prosecution in a series of other similar cases.

Further information about this case and the position of the human rights project, ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial,’ is available on our website.

An up-to-date list of political prisoners in Russia is also 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.

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. For more information about donating, see our website.

Translated by Rights in Russia

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