Russian mathematician and anarchist Azat Miftakhov was arrested on new felony charges on Monday, immediately after his release from the prison where he had just finished serving a years-long sentence in a separate case. He stands accused of “justifying terrorism.”
During Miftakhov’s remand hearing on Tuesday, investigators said that he “promoted terrorism among convicts” while being an “active member of the terrorist organization People’s Self-Defense.” In particular, they allege that on May 21, Miftakhov “deliberately engaged in public justification of terrorism in the presence of two convicts” while in the penal colony IK-17.
The case against Miftakhov is based on the testimonies of two prisoners and one other witness whose identity is classified, as reported by Mediazona. According to the records from the interrogation of an inmate with the last name Gadzhimuratov, on May 21, while the inmates were watching a news segment about the war, Miftakhov said that he would have liked to “avenge” the death of a friend who died while fighting on the side of Ukraine. Another inmate with the last name Trushkov reportedly said, during questioning, that Miftakhov spoke about the need to “blow up FSB officers” and said that “the war against the occupiers should be fought not just in Ukraine but also in Russia.”
The classified witness testified that, while he wasn’t present for the conversations between Miftakhov and the other inmates, he can confirm that the mathematician voiced approval for the actions of Mikhail Zhlobitsky, a student who detonated a bomb in an FSB office in Arkhangelsk in 2018. Miftakhov has denied this allegation.
Azat Miftakhov was arrested on September 4 outside of a prison in the town of Omutninsk, where he had just finished serving a sentence for his alleged involvement in an arson attack on a United Russia office. Miftakhov had been in custody since 2019. In 2021, he sentenced to six years in prison. When he was finally released, a group of friends and relatives met him outside the facility. A white van with Chechen license plates and five law-enforcement officers inside was posted nearby. “They howled at us and gave us the finger,” one of the people who met Miftakhov told Mediazona. The activist’s wife, mother, and stepfather were only permitted to talk with him briefly, before he was taken into custody again.
On August 17, Russia’s Federal Service for Financial Monitoring added Miftakhov to its list of “terrorists and extremists.” Later, Miftakhov’s lawyer, Svetlana Sidorkina, said that the alleged terrorist propaganda case against her client was opened in response to the comments Miftakhov made in prison, while watching television with other inmates.