Journalist and marijuana
Checnya is witnessing an uproar. Jalaudi Geriyev has been sentenced to three years in prison for marijuana possession. Geriyev himself, his colleagues and family, as well as the leading journalist and human rights organizations believe though, that the drugs were thrown to him.
“We have no doubt, that this is the revenge for his reporting. Freedom of speech has been stifled substantially (in Chechnya) in the last 12 months prior to the elections, Geriyev being one of the numerous victims of the repressions, Tatyana Lokshina said, the Human Rights Watch Russian program director.
Jalaudi Geriyev is only 23, but he has been already reporting for Caucasian Knot information agency for several years. He was detained in April when on his way to the Grozny airport to fly to Moscow for a journalist training.
“I got a blow to the head and shoved into a car. Both telephones and the bag with my ID and the notebook were taken away. Then they drove me to the wood not far from Tsotsin-Yurt, Jalaudi has been repeatedly telling the story during investigation and in court.
Rather a strange conversation took place in the wood. What are you busy with? Any plans to go to Syria?
Approximately half an hour later another car arrived. A man came out and first thing put a plastic bag on Geriyev`s head and did not took it off until Jalaudi started to choke.
Then the man drove away with Geriyev`s bag, and the journalist was taken to the cemetery on the outskirts of Kurchaloy. According to the police report, this was the place of Geriyev`s detention with marijuana discovered in his bag.
At the initial stage of investigation Geriyev had signed the protocol, but denied his “voluntary confession later. “It was a psychological shock. I had confessed under pressure and threats – and deny it now completely. I am not guilty! – Jalaudi Geriyev has been stating this at all court sessions starting July 16.
“The prosecutor claims, that my defendant has collected the cannabis leaves in August, had them dried and ready for use… On April 16 at 8 am he finally made up his mind to use it… And for that aim he went to the cemetery on the village outskirts? – Alaudi Musayev, the lawyer, has been appealing to common sense, Caucasian Knot reports.
The investigation has lasted for about 4 months, but the human rights organizations, such as Front Line Defenders, Human Rights Watch, Norway Helsinki Committee, Article 19, consider it unsatisfactory, to say the least.
“Front Line Defenders appeals to the Russian authorities to free Jalaudi Geriyev immediately and denounce the verdict; to return the confiscated possessions of his, as they obviously have no connection to any criminal doings; to guarantee that the Russian human rights activists under any circumstances are free to act both nationwide and internationally without fear of repressions and criminal prosecution, the statement issued by the organization says.
The petition on Change.org demanding fair trial for Geriyev, issued by his supporters, has been signed by 473 so far.