Makhmud Velitov. Photo: http://afmedia.ru/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/field/image/imam700.jpg?itok=qVUYyDIU

11 April 2017, 13:40

Imam Velitov refuses to plead guilty in court

Today, the Moscow District Military Court has started considering the case of Makhmud Velitov, the Imam of the “Yardyam” Mosque, accused of publicly justifying terrorism. Imam Velitov has stated that he does not understand the essence of the charge and refuses to plead guilty.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that Makhmud Velitov was detained on July 11, 2016. The investigators believe that his words about Abdulla Gappaev, a Dagestani religious figure, who was killed on September 16, 2013, pronounced in Velitov’s interview and a sermon, were justification of terrorism.

At the today's session at the above Court, Makhmud Velitov has stated that he does not plead guilty of the incriminated crime.

"I don’t understand the essence of the charge and refuse to plead guilty," said Velitov as quoted by the TASS.

While announcing the indictment, the female prosecutor has stated that in his speech, dedicated to Gappaev, Velitov used verbal and non-verbal actions "aimed to the formation of a positive image of an extremist organization."

Dagir Khasavov, an advocate of the Imam, has noted that Velitov had pronounced his prayer, not knowing that Abdullah Gappaev was a member of a terrorist grouping. Mr Khasavov has added that there is no reliable information that Gappaev had been a member of a terrorist organization; and the defence intends to prove the Imam’s innocence, the "Interfax" reports.

Full text of the article is available on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’.

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