2017-04-28 19:37:00

Military court sentences Moscow mosque imam charged with justifying terrorism to 3 years' imprisonment

Moscow, April 28, Interfax - The Moscow District Military Court has found Makhmud Velitov, the imam of Moscow's Yardyam Mosque, guilty in the case of publicly justifying terrorism and sentenced him to three years in a general regime penal colony on Friday, an Interfax correspondent reported.

"The court is coming to the conclusion that the defendant's guilt has been proved. [The court ruled] to find the defendant guilty of justifying terrorism, to sentence Velitov to three years in a general regime penal colony," the judge said in a ruling.

Only the introductory and the operative parts of the court's decision were read today, the court's reasoning behind it will be disclosed later.

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).

As reported, during arguments in the court, prosecutor Yekaterina Rozanova sought to find Velitov guilty, sentence him to three years and six months in a general regime penal colony and deprive him of the right to engage in religious activity for three years.

The imam himself insists he is innocent.