Washington, D.C., June 14, 2019–Authorities in the Russian republic of Dagestan should immediately drop the charges against Makhachkala-based journalist Abdulmumin Gadzhiev and release him, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Today, the Dagestan security services detained Gadzhiev, editor of the religious section of Makhachkala-based independent newspaper Chernovik, on terrorism charges, according to his employer and other media reports. They also searched his home in his absence, and seized phones and computers, according to his employer and news reports. Gadzhiev’s lawyer said the journalist is facing criminal charges of participation in a terrorist organization for allegedly wiring money to a man suspected by the Russian government of financing terrorist organizations, according to news website MBK News. Chernovik‘s staff denied the charges and alleged that they were in retaliation for Gazhiyev’s work, the news outlet reported. If found guilty, Gadzhiev could face up to 20 years in prison, according to Russian criminal code.
“Charging journalists with support of terrorism has become a too-common tactic in the North Caucasus aimed at silencing critical voices, and we call on the authorities to release Abdulmumin Gadzhiev immediately,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator, in New York. “Instead of bringing absurd charges against yet another Chernovik journalist, Russian law enforcement should find the murderers of the paper’s founder, Gadzhimurad Kamalov.”
On December 15, 2011, an unknown assailant fired 14 times as Kamalov was leaving work, according to CPJ research. The high-profile murder remains unsolved, as CPJ has reported. Another chief editor of Chernovik, Nadira Isayeva, whom CPJ honored with its International Press Freedom Award in 2010, had to flee Russia fearing persecution for her work, CPJ has documented.
The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Dagestan did not immediately respond to CPJ’s emailed request for comment on Gadzhiev’s case.