Islam Gugov at the court hearing. Photo by Konstantin Volgin for the Caucasian Knot

12 October 2018, 13:59

Defence asks court to acquit Islam Gugov

The guilt of Islam Gugov, a resident of Kabardino-Balkaria, accused of involvement in activities of Syrian militants, has not been proven, his advocates state. Islam Gugov himself has expressed regret that he had gone to Syria.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that in Rostov-on-Don, the North-Caucasian District Military Court considers the case against Islam Gugov, a resident of Baksan, accused of participating in the activities of a terrorist organization and training terrorist activities. This is the third trial in the case against Islam Gugov, who was twice found guilty of involvement in the militants' activities, but later succeeded in seeking the cancellation of the sentence by the Supreme Court (SC).

The prosecution asserts that Islam Gugov was trained in Syria in militants' camps of the illegal armed grouping "Djeish al-Mukhadjirin val-Ansar" and the terrorist organization "Imarat Kavkaz", banned in Russia.

Gugov had believed law enforcers' promises that he would remain at liberty if he voluntarily returned from Syria to Russia; however, he was detained at the Nalchik Airport. His case is a precedent of law enforcers' ignoring their guarantees granted to voluntary returnees from the Middle East conflict, Oleg Orlov, a board member of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial", has stated.

On October 11, the court hearing began with a speech delivered by Islam Gugov himself in the course of the debate. The defendant reiterated that he treated the criminal proceedings against him as a revenge of the law enforcement bodies for his refusal to testify against Alim Sultanov, a resident of Kabardino-Balkaria, who was later sentenced to 17 years of imprisonment in a case of involvement in activities of Syrian militants.

Eva Chanieva, an advocate of Islam Gugov, has criticized the evidence base of the prosecution and stated that "no permissible and relative evidence had been obtained."

"An unreasonable decision in the case will have consequences not only for Islam Gugov, but for all people who want to return home [from the war zone in the Middle East], but are afraid. The unfair decision will play against the interests of the state and the state policy," stated Eva Chanieva. The advocate asked the court to acquit Islam Gugov.

In his final speech, Islam Gugov himself expressed his regret that some time ago he had decided to leave for Syria and asked the court to acquit him.

The verdict is to be pronounced on October 15.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on October 12, 2018 at 04:21 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Konstantin Volgin; Source: CK correspondent

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