The North Caucasian District Military Court. Photo: Anton Naumluk (RFE/RL)

17 October 2018, 08:30

Sentence to KBR resident puts Russians' return from Syria at risk

The verdict to Islam Gugov, a resident of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic (KBR), surprised rights defenders with its severity. The interests of special services are put above the public interest to return Russians from the ranks of Syrian militants and adapt them, rights defenders have stated.

On October 15, the North Caucasian District Military Court sentenced Gugov to 16 years in a high-security colony. According to the prosecution, he had been trained in Syria in militants' camps.

According to Valery Khatazhukov, the head of the KBR's movement "For Human Rights", local authorities' guarantees have collided with their inability to influence law enforcers' behaviour.

Mr Khatazhukov believes that those who would like to return from Syria to Russia, to the KBR, but were afraid of law enforcers' prosecutions, are unlikely to make such attempts now.

He also thinks that law enforcers' data that from 150 to 200 people had left the KBR for Syria are overstated.

According to Alexander Cherkasov, the board chairman of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial", law enforcers are interested to jail the returnees, while local authorities are interested to adapt them to peaceful life.

Svetlana Gannushkina, the chair of the Civil Assistance Committee, has met such a harsh sentence to a voluntary returnee from Syria for the first time.

According to her story, there are young people among the convicts, who were not in Syria at all, but they were still accused of participating in the warfare there.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on October 16, 2018 at 08:40 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Rustam Djalilov; Source: CK correspondent

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