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Court to consider merits for Moscow mosque's imam extremism case

April 11, 4:37 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Mahmud Velitov is charged with an offense under Clause 1 of Article 205.2 of Russia’s Criminal Code that specifies punishment to justification of terrorism

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MOSCOW, April 11. /TASS/. Moscow Circuit Military Court on Tuesday begins hearings on merits of a criminal case for Mahmud Velitov, the imam of a Moscow mosque, who is charged with making public justification of terrorism, the press service of the court told TASS.

"The Moscow Circuit Military Court holds the first session at 10:00 hours on Monday to hear on merits a criminal case for Velitov," a spokeswoman for the court said.

Mahmud Velitov is charged with an offense under Clause 1 of Article 205.2 of Russia’s Criminal Code that specifies punishment to justification of terrorism. Velitov admitted his guilt partially at the beginning but withdrew his testimony later.

Investigators say Velitov made a speech during the sermons in the mosque on Khachaturian Street on September 27, 2013, in which he offered justifications for the activity of a member of Hizb ub-Tahrir, a radical Islamist organization banned in Russia.

Conclusions of language and psychology experts said this speech contained elements of justification of terrorists.

Moscow City’s Butyrski district court prolonged Velitov’s home arrest several times. He had a prohibition to leave the place of residence, to communicate with individuals featured in the case by cellular or fixed-line telephones, to get or send parcels and letters, to use internet, and to send or receive telegrams.

Somewhat later, the court allowed Velitov to make two-hour-long strolls twice a week. On February, investigators mitigated house arrest to written recognizance not to leave.

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