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Memorial Rights Center Recognizes Jailed Chechen Journalist As Political Prisoner

  • RFE/RL

Chechen reporter Zhalaudi Geriyev (file photo)

Chechen reporter Zhalaudi Geriyev (file photo)

The Moscow-based human rights center Memorial has recognized a Chechen journalist Zhalaudi Geriyev as a political prisoner.

In an October 17 statement, Memorial said Geriyev's imprisonment was linked to his professional activities.

On September 5, a court in Chechnya found Geriyev guilty of marijuana possession and sentenced him to three years in jail.

Geriyev had denied the charges, while New York-based Human Rights Watch said he was being "punished" for his work as a journalist.

Geriyev, a contributor to the website Caucasian Knot, has been known for his reporting on human rights in Chechnya, which is tightly controlled by Kremlin-backed Ramzan Kadyrov.

Rights activists have blamed Kadyrov and his paramilitary forces for serious rights abuses, including the widespread use of kidnapping, torture, and extrajudicial murders.