businessman (sales of electronic devices)
Part 2 of Art. 205.5 of the Russian Criminal Code (participation in a terrorist organisation, namely the local cell of the Islamic Party of Liberation “Hizb ut-Tahrir”)
October 11, 2017
from 10 to 20 years in prison
days in custody
Memet Belyalov, the father of one child, was arrested on 11 October 2017 together with five other Crimean Tatars in the town of Bakhchysarai. Searches were carried out in their homes by FSB officers during which lawyers were not allowed to be present. Eight activists of the Crimean Solidarity movement were also detained and taken to the police station after they came to show their support to the arrested and to share on social networks the law enforcement representatives’ actions.
Since the detention, Memet Belyalov is kept under arrest in the pre-detention center. The most recent court decision was on February 8, the arrest was prolonged till 9 April 2019.
Belyalov, together with Ernest Ametov, Server Zekiryaev, Tymur Ibrahimov and Seyran Saliev, is accused of participating in a local cell of the Islamic Party of Liberation (Hizb ut-Tahrir). According to the FSB investigators, the alleged organiser of this cell is Suleyman (Marlen) Asanov.
All six detainees have been active in the Crimean Solidarity civic movement that provides support to the families of Crimean political prisoners. Therefore it is believed that these charges are politically motivated.
Hizb ut-Tahrir is considered in Russia a “terrorist” organization according to the 2003 decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation despite the lack of evidence concerning its involvement in preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts. It is a transnational movement that presents itself as non-violent and that is considered legal in Ukraine and tolerated in other countries.
Tortures and pressure
Often, during the court hearings on their arrest, neither water nor food are provided to the defendants of the case, which lawyers say account to a form of torture. The court settings are usually closed to the public. The detainees are often placed in metal cages, that is violation of Article 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Moreover, families are not allowed to visit the detainees in prison. The figurants of the case were also placed for over a month in a psychiatric hospital to undergo a psychiatric examination.
Belyalov’s extension of the pre-trial detention despite the lack of proof against him could be compared to, according to the lawyer, to a form of torture:
“We consider pre-trial detention a certain type of pressure exercised on our clients rather than a safeguard against their possible escape. They won’t be able to escape nor to influence anyone under house arrest. But keeping them in the pre-trial detention facility has a fundamentally different aim as it is a terrible overcrowded place infested with fleas, lice, bedbugs. A place where is cold, that lacks water and where all diseases aggravate. All this can account to torture.”