2017-04-25 10:00:00

Public prosecutor seeks 3.5 years in prison to Moscow mosque imam charged with terrorism justification

Moscow, April 25, Interfax - The public prosecutor seeks to find imam of the Moscow mosque Yardyam Mahmoud Velitov guilty of public justification of terrorism and sentence him to three years and six months in a general-security penal colony, an Interfax correspondent reported.

The prosecution service also asked the court to deprive Velitov of the right to engage in religious activity.

"Velitov has justified terrorist activity of member of the prohibited party Abdullah Gappayev. He received an email message that Gappayev is killed, and he has found the data about him in the Internet and decided that Gappayev is worth mentioning in the prayer," public prosecutor Yekaterina Rozanova said.

The imam wanted "to show Gappayev as a person deserving admiration," she said

The prosecutor cited the testimony given by several witnesses, who said that they had been indignant with Velitov's praising words regarding Gappayev, and cited expert examinations.

Velitov is charged with publicly justifying terrorism. The maximum penalty under this article is five years in prison. The imam pleaded not guilty.

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 [banned in Russia].