29 December 2016, 03:19
Key points in Geriev's case: from kidnapping to appeal (video)
On September 5, 2016, Zhalaudi Geriev, a Chechen journalist and a "Caucasian Knot" correspondent, was sentenced to three years in a general-security colony on charges of drug possession.
Prior to his arrest on April 16, 2016, Geriev was kidnapped by armed men on his way to the airport, after he bought a ticket and already passed the registration. Following the kidnapping, law enforcers took away his mobile phones and a backpack, in which later they found narcotic drugs. The journalist was taken to a forest and interrogated there; his hands roped and a pack put over his head. Geriev was accused of acting against Chechen authorities, questioned about his journalistic activities and forced to confess of possessing marijuana.
At the trial at court, Geriev refused from his confessions, given at the preliminary investigation, stating that he gave them under pressure. His advocate Alaudi Musaev stated falsification of the key evidence in the case – the package, which allegedly contained the drugs. It turned out that one package was confiscated, but another one was sent to examination. On November 23, the Supreme Court (SC) of Chechnya sent a Geriev's application about the kidnapping to investigatory authorities.
On December 28, the SC upheld the conviction. The defence of Geriev announced its intention to lodge a cassation complaint. His advocate also said that the defence was preparing a lawsuit to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).
The Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial" has recognized Zhalaudi Geriev to be a political prisoner. Over a dozen international human rights organizations stood in his support; and a petition in defence of the journalist has collected more than 24,000 signatures.
In September 2016, at the SIZO (pre-trial prison), Geriev was visited by FSB agents, who offered him help in exchange for information about the "Caucasian Knot".
The "Caucasian Knot" treats the criminal case against Zhalaudi Geriev as fabricated, and the accusations of him of drug use – as completely far-fetched. The absence of direct proofs of Geriev's guilt and the pressure on him in the course of the investigation suggest that the correspondent's persecution has to do with his professional activities.