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Prosecutor Seeks Lengthy Prison Term For Tatar Islamic Scholar On Extremism Charges


Islamic scholar Gabdrakhman Naumov (file photo)
Islamic scholar Gabdrakhman Naumov (file photo)

KAZAN, Russia -- The prosecutor in a high-profile trial in Russia's Republic of Tatarstan has asked a court to sentence a noted Islamic scholar to 8 years and 5 months on a charge of creating and running a branch of a banned Islamic group.

Gabdrakhman Naumov's lawyer, Ruslan Nagiyev, told RFE/RL that the prosecutor's request was made at the Privolzhye district court in Tatarstan's capital, Kazan, on October 19.

Nagiyev added that his client pleaded not guilty and rejected all the charges.

Naumov was arrested in March last year and charged with being the leader of the Nurcular Islamic group.

Naumov is well-known in Tatarstan as a teacher at the Russian Islamic University and the former Imam of a mosque in Kazan.

Nagiyev told RFE/RL last year that law enforcement authorities in Tatarstan had added Naumov to their list of extremists long before the trial.

Since 2013, several alleged members of Nurcular have been arrested across Russia.

Nurcular was founded in Turkey by Islamic scholar Said Nursi, who died in 1960.

The Nurcular movement, which has millions of followers around the globe, especially in Turkey, has been banned in Russia since 2008.

Russian authorities have said the group promotes the creation of an Islamic state that encompasses all Turkic-speaking areas and countries in the Middle East, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Russia's Turkic-speaking regions in the North Caucasus, Volga region, and Siberia.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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