Prosecutors request student accused of burning Quran be given 3.5 years in prison

Nikita Zhuravel. Photo: SOTA

Nikita Zhuravel. Photo: SOTA

Russia’s Prosecutor General’s office has requested a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence for a 20-year-old man accused of burning a Quran outside a mosque in the city of Volgograd in May, state news agency TASS reported on Tuesday.

Nikita Zhuravel was charged with “insulting the feelings of believers” and “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” and has been in pre-trial detention in the Chechen capital Grozny since May.

Following Zhuravel’s arrest and initial questioning, Russia’s Investigative Committee said he had admitted to burning the Quran "on the orders of the Ukrainian intelligence services” for a reward of 10,000 rubles (€100).

In September, Chechen head Ramzan Kadyrov posted a video of his then 15-year-old son Adam beating up a defenceless Zhuravel, commenting that he was “proud” of him for attacking the detainee.

As Adam Kadyrov was a minor, police declined to open a criminal case against him over the attack, but he was named Hero of Chechnya and received multiple awards from other Muslim-majority regions in Russia.

In November, Adam Kadyrov was appointed to head his father’s security service, while Zhuravel was declared a political prisoner by the human rights group Memorial.

The court’s verdict in Zhuravel’s case is expected on 27 February.

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