28 December 2016, 12:00
Investigators toughen charge against imam of Yardyam Mosque suspected of justifying terrorism
Moscow, December 28, Interfax - Investigators have reclassified the charge against Makhmud Velitov, imam of the Moscow Yardyam Mosque, to a graver crime, his lawyer Dagir Khasavov told Interfax.
"Investigators have changed the article for my client, in accordance with it he is charged with public justification of terrorism using the Internet (Part 2 of Article 205.2 of the Russian Criminal Code), which carries a punishment of up to seven years in prison," Khasavov said.
The lawyer said the Moscow Butyrsky Court has prolonged the imam's house arrest until February 27 and the preliminary investigation period has been prolonged until February 27 as well.
Khasavov said Velitov has declined to partially admit his guilt. "Now we don't recognize the guilt," Khasavov said.
Velitov was earlier charged with public justification of terrorism (Part 1 of Article 205.2 of the Russian Criminal Code). The article envisages punishment of up to five years in prison.
According to the investigators, Velitov, who was chairman of the Council and simultaneously imam of a religious organization, delivered a speech justifying the activities by one of the participants of the terrorist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami (banned in Russia) during a prayer in the mosque located in Khachaturyan Street on September 23, 2013.
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