Moscow City Court upholds house arrest for imam charged with justifying terrorism
MOSCOW, August 2 (RAPSI) – The Moscow City Court has upheld the ruling of a lower court on house arrest for Moscow imam Makhmud Velitov, who is charged with justifying terrorism, RAPSI learned in the courtroom on Tuesday.
According to Velitov’s defense, he is seriously ill and his cardiologist has recommended the imam to spend more time in the open air.
During the hearings, Velitov was characterized by defense as the “imam of the people”, who does not justify terrorism. The imam himself quoted verses from the Koran and said that in forty years of his religious service, he had never set up the Muslims against society and had never cultivated aggressive moods among his congregation.
Velitov is to stay under house arrest until August 27.
On September 23, 2013, Velitov, being a council chair and imam of a religious organization, made a public speech justifying activity of one of Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami terrorist organization’s members” during a prayer in a Moscow mosque, according to investigators. This organization has been banned by Russia’s Supreme Court.
“As follows from the conclusion of a forensic examination, the imam’s speech contained a set of psychological and linguistic features of justifying terrorist activities,” the statement reads.
Hizb ut-Tahrir (the Party of Islamic Liberation), founded in Jerusalem in 1953, is banned in several Arab and Central Asian countries. Russia's Supreme Court banned the group from operating on the territory of the country in 2003, describing it as a terrorist organization.
Hizb ut-Tahrir members are regularly arrested by the police across Russia, mainly in big cities in central Russia, the Volga region and Siberia. Also, there are many supporters in Crimea, which rejoined Russia last spring.