Ismet Ibragimov, a Crimean resident accused of involvement in the banned Islamic organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir, is a political prisoner

Memorial Human Rights Centre, in accordance with international guidelines, considers Ismet Ibragimov a political prisoner. We believe he is being prosecuted for the non-violent exercise of freedom of conscience and religion and the right of association. Insofar as we know, he has been imprisoned, in the absence of evidence of any crime, in order to put an end to his religious activities, as well as to suppress civic activism among residents of annexed Crimea.

We demand the immediate release of Ismet Ibragimov.

Who is Ismet Ibragimov and what are the charges against him?

Crimean resident Ismet Ibragimov is accused of involvement in the Party of Islamic Liberation (Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami), which is banned in Russia.

According to the Investigative Committee, by March 2018 Ibragimov had organised a Hizb ut-Tahrir cell in the Simferopol district of Crimea. He led the cell’s activities, conducting propaganda of party ideology and attracting new members to the organisation. In addition, according to the Investigative Committee, Ibragimov promoted the idea of establishing a theocratic state, the Worldwide Islamic Caliphate, among Muslims.

All this was considered by investigators to constitute the activities of a terrorist organisation (Article 205.5, Part 1, of the Russian Criminal Code) and preparation for the violent seizure of power (Article 30, Part 1, in conjunction with Article 278 of the Russian Criminal Code).

On 7 July 2020 searches were carried out in the homes of Crimean Tatars across the peninsula. Ismet Ibragimov was one of six Crimeans who were arrested and subsequently remanded in custody.

Why does Memorial consider Ismet Ibragimov a political prisoner?

Analysis of the materials of Ibragimov’s case gives the impression that the investigating officers simply combined the description of real actions and events that took place at meetings of Hizb ut-Tahrir supporters with the wording of the articles of the Criminal Code under which he has been charged.

The investigating officers made no attempt to prove Ibragimov’s guilt, evidently on the assumption that involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir automatically proves the commission of crimes.

However, Memorial considers the designation of Hizb ut-Tahrir as a terrorist organisation to be unfounded and unlawful.

The Supreme Court’s decision of 2003, banning in one go a large number of Islamic organisations, devotes a single paragraph of three sentences to Hizb ut-Tahrir. These sentences contain no evidence whatsoever that the organisation was involved in terrorist activities.

Consequently, we believe it unlawful to lay charges of terrorism solely on the basis of involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Nevertheless, charges of involvement in this organisation will automatically result in lengthy prison sentences. As of today, according to our estimations, more than 320 individuals have been convicted or are being prosecuted on charges related to involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir.

In annexed Crimea, the prosecution of Hizb ut-Tahrir members is being used as a means to suppress public solidarity and civic activism among the peninsula’s residents, especially among the community of Crimean Tatars (with few exceptions, those prosecuted for involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir belong to this ethnic group). In 2014 Crimean Tatars did not support the annexation of the peninsula and have been persecuted ever since. In Ukraine, Hizb ut-Tahrir’s activities are still legal.

More detailed descriptions of the case of Ismet Ibragimov and of the position of Memorial Human Rights Centre are available on our website.

Recognition of an individual as a political prisoner or as a victim of politically motivated prosecution does not imply Memorial Human Rights Centre agrees with, or approves of, their views, statements, or actions.

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