05 Dec 2017 Lvl. 1
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Alert created on: 09 Sep 2016 Russian Federation

Journalist Imprisoned on Dubious Drug Charges in Chechnya

1 Journalist in detention
Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner Article 19 AEJ CPJ EFJ/IFJ Index IPI RSF
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Partner Article 19 AEJ CPJ EFJ/IFJ Index IPI RSF
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.
Updates
05 Dec 2017
On 10 October 2017 Geriev’s lawyers filed a complaint with the chairman of the Supreme Court of Russia, asking him to cancel the 31 July decision. On 1 December 2017 the complaint was rejected.
04 Aug 2017
26 Jun 2017
On 26 June 2017 Geriev’s lawyers filed a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights.
05 May 2017
On 4 May 2017 Geriev’s lawyers filed a second cassation appeal to the Russian Supreme Court, asking for the violations committed by the Chechen courts to be removed and for the case to be returned to the first-instance court.
01 Apr 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 2016, the Supreme Court of Chechnya upheld the sentence of 3 year's imprisonment.
Journalists in detention

Currently in detention (1):

Zhalaudi Geriev
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