A 22-year-old Russian man, Termkhan Tleugabilov, is standing trial in Chelyabinsk for allegedly recruiting local Muslims to fight in Syria.
The indictment did not specify for which group Tleugabilov was allegedly recruiting, but charged him with calling for the establishment of a caliphate and an Islamic state.
The charges against Tleugabilov include forming a terrorist group, public incitement to terrorism, and creating an extremist community.
Tleugabilov was arrested in a Chelyabinsk apartment in early 2014. According to reports, neither he nor his three followers present during the arrest offered any resistance. Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) found weapons, ammunition, and "extremist literature" in the apartment.
According to the indictment, Tleugabilov conducted meetings at an apartment in Chelyabinsk, where he exhorted his followers to help establish an Islamic state and wage an armed struggle against the authorities in Russia and Syria. Both Tleugabilov and his followers allegedly planned to go to Syria after they had completed their training.
At his first court appearance on November 27, Tleugabilov refused to acknowledge the presence of the judge, answer question, or participate in the hearing, according to the Chelyabinsk.ru website. Tleugabilov also refused to accept a defense lawyer.
Tleugabilov was later removed from the courtroom after he said that only the "Creator" was fit to pass judgment on him and that he had no doubt that what he had done was right.
"Those who do not judge according to the laws of the Creator judge by the laws of Satan, because an absolutely fair decision can only be made by an ideal judge who has no shortcomings, and since only the Almighty Allah is such, I renounce any participation in the trial, refuse to comment and answer questions from the judge, and reject counsel. Praise Allah for what I did. I do not regret it. I urged and intended myself to fight against tyranny and in particular against Syrian President Bashar Assad," Tleugabilov was quoted as telling the court.
As he was being removed from the court, Tleugabilov reportedly added, "It's a shame that you are removing me, this presentation won't be as much fun without me."
If found guilty, Tleugabilov faces up to 20 years in prison.
-- Joanna Paraszczuk