Russian lawyer by appointment
Part 2 of Art. 282.2 of the Russian Criminal Code (participation in the activities of an extremist organisation)
October 2, 2017
2.5 years of suspended imprisonment
days in custody
Seyran Mustafaev was arrested on 2 October 2017 together with three other Crimean Tatars who are accused of being part of the Tablighi Jamaat movement. The same day of his arrest, Russian state-controlled media reported that the FSB had dismantled three cells of Tablighi Jamaat in Crimea. Tablighi Jamaat is banned in Russia and considered an “extremist” organisation following a 2009 Russian Supreme Court’s decision.
Following the first hearing in a Russian-controlled Court in Simferopol on 3 October, Mustafaev was placed under an obligation not to leave the territory of the Russian Federation. He is the only one from the four accused in the case to have a state-appointed lawyer.
No clear evidence has been provided by the de facto investigation to support that the group of four men -Talyat Abdurakhmanov, Arsen Kubedinov, Seyran Mustafaev and Renat Suleymanov- are part of this organisation. Instead, Suleymanov’s lawyer Edem Semedlyaev reported that the detainees were forced to cooperate with the investigators in exchange of a milder sentence.
Moreover, on the day of their arrest, a representative of the Russian Crimean Muftiat came to visit the detainees in the FSB’s facilities and proposed his help if they confessed their guilt and agreed to state-appointed lawyers.
The main evidence during the trial was the audio of the conversation between the accused, which was wiretapped secretly by the security forces. In this conversation they discuss general issues regarding religion and do not address any extremist, violent, or illegal issues. The linguistic expertise was biased and manipulative. During the trial, Renat recognized that he is involved in the Tablighi Jamaat movement, however he denied any involvement in extremist or other illegal activities.
The anti-extremist legislation has been used in Russia to justify political persecution, especially against Crimean Tatars and Muslims. The transnational Tablighi Jamaat movement, which activity is mostly based on proselytism (“da’wa” which corresponds to the religious mission), is a non-radical and apolitical group. It focuses on replicating Muhammad’s lifestyle through a strict dress code and religious practices and on the promotion of missionary tours (“khuruj”) to spread their faith.
- United States Commission on International Religious Freedom: Inventing Extremists: The Impact of Russian Anti-Extremism Policies on Freedom of Religion or Belief
- EuromaidanPress: Four Crimean Tatars detained in new wave of religious persecution