Moscow imam sentenced for ‘justification of terrorism’

The 65-year-old Imam of the Moscow mosque “Yardyam” Mahmud Velitov was found guilty of ‘publically justifying terrorism’ and sentenced for three years in prison in a penal colony, according to the website of the Investigative Committee of Russia. The decision was declared by the Moscow District Military Court, TASS news agency said.

Velitov was convicted under Part 1 of Art. 205.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“Public Justification of Terrorism”). According to investigators, on September 27, 2013, the chairman of the council and Imam Velitov uttered in the mosque during the prayer a public speech justifying the activities of one of the members of the terrorist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami.

As specifies radio “Freedom”, it was a question about Abdulla Gashaev. Imam’s lawyer Dagir Khasavov argued that the imam, while reading the prayer, did not know that Abdullah Gappaev was a in a terrorist organization.

Imam Velitov himself said that he did not justify the activities of the terrorist, but only recited a prayer for Gappaev’s repose. “He was a good man, I did not know that he was in an extremist organization,” – Velitov said.

On Friday, only the opening and decisive parts of the verdict were announced, and the motives that guided the court in its adoption, will be known later, reports “Interfax.”

“Dead man does not belong to any (political) party” – said Imam Velitov.

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