South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) condemns the decision by the Southern District Military Court (Южный окружной военный суд ) in Rostov-on-Don (Росто́в-на-Дону́) in Russia on Tuesday 12 September 2023 to sentence Russian journalist Abdulmumin Gadzhiev (Абдулмумин Гаджиев), born 1984, to 17 years in prison. He is the religion editor of the independent outlet Chernovik (Черновик) (https://chernovik.net/).
Gadzhiev had already spent 4 years in jail on what many believe to be fabricated charges in retaliation for his journalism. His arrest in June 2019 stemmed from accusations of involvement with militant organizations, including ISIS, and transferring funds to the extremist.
The court convicted Gadzhiev of financing terrorism, participating in a terrorist group, and organizing the activity of an extremist group.
According to the court decision, Gadzhiev should serve seven years in prison and ten years in a penal colony. He has consistently denied all charges and plans to appeal the sentence.
According to chernovik.net, Gadzhiev maintained in a statement on 7 September 2023, that the case against him had been “a ‘fake’ from start to finish” and that the four years he spent in prison were “the most productive years” of his life, during which he published “hundreds of reports from behind bars.”
Gadzhiev’s colleagues have launched public campaigns disputing the allegations, describing them as “illegal and unfounded” and retaliation for the newspaper’s critical coverage of local law enforcement.
South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non-profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. SEEMO members are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdnestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye / Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO. SEEMO has over 3000 individual members, and additional media as corporate members.
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