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Ingush Opposition Activist Sentenced On Hatred Charges

Ingush oppositionist Magomed Khazbiyev (file photo)

An opposition activist in Russia's North Caucasus region of Ingushetia has been sentenced to two years and 11 months in a colony-settlement, a penitentiary in which convicts live close to a facility where they work.

In a November 27 ruling, a court in Ingushetia found Magomed Khazbiyev guilty of inciting hatred towards regional leader Yunus-Bek Yevkurov and other officials and law enforcement authorities, as well as illegal weapon possession.

Khazbiyev's lawyer, Khedi Ibriyeva said her client's sentence would be appealed.

Khazbiyev was detained in his native Ingushetia in January upon arrival from neighboring Chechnya, where he had been under the protection of the Chechen government since 2015.

Khazbiyev, a fierce critic of Ingush officials and President Vladimir Putin, has maintained his innocence, saying the charges against him are politically motivated.

Chechen authorities placed Khazbiyev under protection after unidentified gunmen opened fire on his car in February 2015 in Grozny.

Khazbiyev, a former chairman of the opposition PARNAS party's branch in Ingushetia, has faced pressure from the authorities for years.

Based on reporting by Caucasian Knot and Mediazona