26 January 2017, 16:58
Supreme Court reduces by half a year prison sentence to Dagestani imam convicted for extremism
Moscow, January 26, Interfax - The Russian Supreme Court has softened by half a year the sentence handed out to Magomed Nabi Magomedov, an imam from a Dagestani mosque who was earlier sentenced to five years in jail for public justification of terrorism.
"Soften the sentence, assign Magomedov final punishment in the form of 4.5 years in prison, leave unchanged the rest of the sentence, reject the appeal," the judge said in his decision.
Magomedov had told the court he was innocent and had asked to be acquitted.
"I am a religious person, all my speeches are based on the Koran. I did not say anything illegal," the convict said.
The imam had asked the court to release him so he could care for his family. "I have eight children and my mother has a disability," he said.
Lawyer Pyotr Zaikin, for his part, said he believes the linguistic evaluation in the case was conducted with violations of the law.
"The defense lawyers believe the expert evaluation was made on a text that was different from the text said by Magomedov. We are drawing the attention of the court to the fact that the study is incomplete," he said.
Lawyer Dagir Khasavov said the actions by the law enforcement agencies regarding his client had also breached constitutional rights.
"Why gave them the right to put a bag on the head of a respected religious figure? What is his guilt? His faith? We are now defending an imam, a sheikh, we are defending Islamic values, which are somehow guaranteed in our country," the lawyer said.
The prosecutor, for his part, had asked for the appeal to be rejected and for the sentence to be left unchanged.
"Magomedov was convicted legally, in a grounded and fair way," the prosecutor said.
The Northern Caucasus District Military Court earlier sentenced Magomedov, who was found guilty of public justification of terrorism and fanning hatred and feud based on religion, to five years in a general security penitentiary.
Magomedov was charged with "fanning hatred or feud and belittling human dignity" and "making public calls for terrorist activities or public justification of terrorism."
In Khasavyurt in February 2016, Magomedov, who was imam of the Vostochnaya Mosque, delivered a speech in the mosque to the people who had come there that contained public justification of terrorism and calls aimed at fanning feud based on religious affiliation. Additionally, the investigators believe the imam had also expressed hatred of authorities and law enforcement officials.