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Russian Journalist Jailed 17.5 Years for 'Financing Terrorism'

Abdulmumin Gadzhiev. Daria Kornilova / zona.media

A Russian court on Tuesday sentenced independent journalist Abdulmumin Gadzhiev to 17.5 years in prison on charges of participating in and financing a terrorist organization, Mediazona reported Tuesday. 

The former editor of Chernovik, a leading independent news outlet in the North Caucasus republic of Dagestan, was arrested in June 2019 and has since remained in pre-trial detention. 

Russian authorities accused Gadzhiev of helping to raise funds for the militant Islamic group ISIS on the orders of the Islamic preacher Abu Umar Sasitlinsky and disguising his activities as charitable work. 

Prosecutors also claimed that the journalist's reporting contained evidence of his involvement in terrorist activities. However, independent experts were unable to find any traces of criminal activity in Gadzhiev's work.

Gadzhiev faced trial together with his alleged accomplices, lawyer Abubakar Rizvanov and businessman Kemal Tambiev, who were sentenced to 18 and 17.5 years in prison respectively. 

Chernovik’s editorial board and other independent journalists believe the charges against Gadzhiev are retaliation for his professional activities and have repeatedly likened his case to that of Russian investigative journalist Ivan Golunov, who was arrested on fabricated drug charges in 2019 but released a few days later following a widespread public outcry. 

Gadzhiev has denied all charges, calling the case against him "fake from start to finish" in court last week.

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