MAKHACHKALA, Russia -- A court in Russia's North Caucasus region of Daghestan has sent a reporter working for an independent newspaper to pretrial detention after being accused of financing terrorism, a charge his editors call absurd.
A court in the regional capital, Makhachkala, on June 18 ordered that Abdulmumin Gadzhiyev be held in pretrial detention for two months, his lawyer Arsen Magomedov told journalists, adding that his client denied the charge at the hearing.
Gadzhiyev, who is a reporter for the newspaper, Chernovik, was detained on June 14 after police searched his home, seizing computers and mobile phones. They also charged him with helping to collect funds for the extremist group Islamic State.
The Daghestani-based Chernovik issued a statement on its website dismissing the charges and comparing the case with that of investigative journalist Ivan Golunov in Moscow.
Golunov was arrested on June 6 in the Russian capital for allegedly attempting to sell illegal drugs. He was released on June 11 after the charges were dropped following a public outcry.
As a reporter for the Latvia-based Russian online news site Meduza, Golunov had gained renown for investigating corruption among top Moscow city officials and others.
Meduza’s editors and others said Golunov’s arrest may have been specifically due to his reporting.
Editors of Chernovik say Gadzhiyev’s case is similar.
“It’s about the same thing as planting drugs on Ivan Golunov in Moscow. If someone needs to be imprisoned, and if he is a bit involved in religious activities, then a reason can always be found.”