The Rostov-on-Don military court sentenced Crimean imam Raif Fevziev to 17 years in prison in a Hizb ut-Tahrir case, Graty reports.
The imam was found guilty of orchestrating activities of a terrorist organisation and attempting to seize power by force. Fevziev will serve the first three years of his sentence in a regular-security jail before being transferred to a high-security prison for the rest of the term.
“Even murderers don’t get sentences like this. The man today got 17 years in prison for a 70-minute long conversation about Islam,” Edem Semedlyaev, Fevziev’s lawyer, commented on the verdict.
The imam was detained in Crimea in August 2021 after mass searches in residences of Crimean Muslims.
According to the prosecution, Fevziev was conducting Hizb ut-Tahrir meetings since 2015 and was convincing people to join the organisation.
Russia’s Supreme Court declared Hizb ut-Tahrir a terrorist organisation in 2003. Russian authorities began prosecuting its members after the verdict. A lot of Crimean Muslims found themselves among those targeted. They were accused of joining a party that is not banned in Ukraine and most European countries.