‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’: Marat Bazarbaev and Vadim Nasyrov are political prisoners 

7 March 2023

Marat Bazarbaev and Vadim Nasyrov, if convicted on charges of participation in Hizb ut-Tahrir, could face up to life imprisonment

Source: Political Prisoners. Memorial

The human rights project ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’ considers Marat Bazarbaev and Vadim Nasyrov, who are Muslims from Chelyabinsk region, political prisoners in accordance with international standards. They are being prosecuted for alleged involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami, which has been designated a terrorist group in Russia. The prosecution of Marat Bazarbaev and Vadim Nasyrov is in gross violation of their rights to freedom of religion and freedom of association. They have been remanded in custody in the absence of any evidence of acts of violence.

We demand the release of Marat Bazarbaev and Vadim Nasyrov from custody and that all criminal charges against them be dropped. 

Who are Bazarbaev and Nasyrov and what is the criminal case against them?

Marat Bazarbaev and Vadim Nasyrov, who are both Muslims, were detained on 6 July 2021 after law enforcement agents conducted searches of their houses. According to their relatives, during the search of Bazarbaev’s house police officers abused him and members of his family. Adults and children were forced to lie on the floor for about four hours, they were assaulted and not allowed to go to the toilet. Shortly after their detention, Bazarbaev and Nasyrov were remanded in custody.

Bazarbaev and Nasyrov, who have both previously been convicted of involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir and recognized as political prisoners by Memorial Human Rights Centre, were charged with participation in the activities of a terrorist organisation (Article 205.5, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code) and aiding and abetting terrorist activities (Article 205.1, Part 1.1, of the Russian Criminal Code). According to the Investigative Committee, after their release in the summer of 2017 Bazarbaev and Nasyrov created a cell of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Chelyabinsk and for four years actively participated in its work, attracting new members to the organisation, talking to them about religion and politics and discussing the oppression of Muslims in Russia.

Bazarbaev and Nasyrov face a punishment of up to life imprisonment if convicted.

Why do we consider Bazarbaev and Nasyrov political prisoners?

There is no evidence in the materials of the case that either Marat Bazarbaev or Vadim Nasyrov intended to commit or called for acts of terrorism or violence. They possessed no weapons, explosives or ammunition. They are being prosecuted solely because of their alleged involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir.

We believe the fact that an organisation has been designated as terrorist is not enough in itself to criminalise all actions of its real or supposed supporters. Moreover, we consider the decision of the Supreme Court of Russia, which recognized Hizb ut-Tahrir as a terrorist organisation in 2003, unfounded. The ruling contains no evidence that Hizb ut-Tahrir is a terrorist organisation. We are not aware of any instances of terrorist acts committed or prepared by members of Hizb ut-Tahrir anywhere in the world.

At the same time, the decision by the Russian Supreme Court has simplified procedures for investigating ‘terrorist’ cases involving Hizb ut-Tahrir. It is no longer necessary to prove the commission or preparation of an act of terrorism. Russian law enforcement agencies have taken advantage of this fact to artificially inflate statistics relating to successful prosecutions for terrorist crimes. According to our data, more than 330 people have been prosecuted for belonging to Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Further information about this case and the position of the ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’ human rights project 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 write to Marat Bazarbaev and Vadim Nasyrov at the following address: 

In Russian: 456205, Челябинск, ул. Артиллерийская, д. 66 а, ФКУ СИЗО-3 ГУФСИН России по Челябинской области, Базарбаеву Марату Тукмурзаевичу, 1976 г.р. / Насырову Вадиму Гайфуллаевичу, 1981 г.р.

In English: Marat Tukmurzaevich (born 1976) / Vadim Gaifullaevich Nasyrov (born 1981), Remand Prison No. 3, Russian Federal Penitentiary Service for Chelyabinsk region, 66 Artilleriiskaya Street, Chelyabinsk, 456205, Russia..

You can also send an electronic letter via the website FederalPenitentiaryService-Letter.

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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