Journalist Imprisoned on Dubious Drug Charges in Chechnya

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Year 09 Sep 2016 Country Russian Federation Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index , IPI , RSF Alert level Level 1
09 Sep 2016 Russian Federation B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index , IPI , RSF Level 1
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On 5 September 2016, a Chechen court sentenced Zhalaudi Geriev, a journalist working for Caucasian Knot, an independent Russian media portal, to three years in prison on charges of drug possession in large quantities. The charges have been condemned by media freedom and human rights groups and are widely considered to be trumped up. Caucasian Knot is well known for its reporting on human rights abuses across the Caucasus and southern Russia, including investigations into corruption and other abuses committed by the Chechen authorities. Geriev was detained by police on 16 April 2016, and held in pre-trial detention until his conviction. During his trial, he told the court that he had been abducted by three armed men, subjected to torture and ill-treatment and had drugs planted on him, before being transferred to police custody. He stated that he was then forced to sign a confession admitting that drugs found in his backpack belonged to him. Geriev retracted his confession during the trial, on the grounds that it was made under duress. His defense lawyer has raised concerns about serious procedural flaws during the investigation and trial, arguing that no credible evidence was presented. Geriev will appeal his sentence. Alert : 1 detention

Updates

03 Jul 2017 : In April 2017, Geriev’s lawyers have appealed to the Investigating Department for Chechnya of the Investigating Committee of the Russian Federation (ICRF) with a request to retract the sixth refusal to open a criminal case against Zhalaudi Geriev’s kidnappers.
28 Dec 2016 : On 28 December, the Supreme Court of Chechnya upheld the sentence of 3 year's imprisonment.
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