18 August 2016, 15:35
Arrest of Moscow mosque imam accused of justifying terrorism may be extended until Oct 27
Moscow, August 18, Interfax - Investigators want the arrest of Moscow's Yardyam Mosque imam Makhmud Velitov to be extended for two months until October 27, Velitov's lawyer Dagir Khasavov said.
"It became known to me that the investigation was seeking a two-month extension of my client's arrest - until October 27," Khasavov told Interfax on Thursday, describing this decision as unfounded.
"Besides, I have not received the Moscow City Court's resolution on why it upheld the position of the Butyrsky Court of Moscow," he said.
On July 12, Moscow's Butyrsky Court imposed house arrest on Velitov, who was charged with publicly calling for terrorist activity or public justification of terrorism (Part 1 of Article 205.2 of the Russian Penal Code). He may face from two to five years in prison if found guilty.
The court also banned the imam from using the Internet, cell phones and landline phones, but allowed him to seek medical care because the imam has a second-degree disability and suffered a heart attack and a stroke. The Federal Penitentiary Institutions Service also decided not to put an electronic tag on Velitov because he had earlier had heart surgery.
Velitov testified and partially admitted his guilt, the lawyer said. Searches were earlier conducted at the imam's apartment and the mosque.
The press service of the Russian Investigative Committee's Moscow branch said that Velitov was accused of publicly justifying terrorism.
Investigators believe that on September 23, 2013, during prayers at the mosque, located on Khachaturyan Street, Velitov, who holds the posts of the Council's chairman and the imam of the religious organization, "delivered a speech justifying the activity of one of the members of the terrorist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami [outlawed in Russia]."
A psychological and linguistic examination concluded that Velitov's speech contained "the totality of psychological and linguistic characteristics pointing to justification of terrorist activities," the Investigative Committee's Moscow branch said.