Sa, 2.12.2023

Jihadist's supporters jailed

Please note that the article is more than five years old and belongs to our archive. We do not update the content of the archives, so it may be necessary to consult newer sources.
Photo: Tairo Lutter

Yesterday, Harju County Court convicted Tallinners Ramil Khalilov (25) and Roman Manko (30) in support of terrorism and punished them with seven and five years physically behind bars, respectively.

Declaring the judgement, judge Helve Särgava underlined general and specific prevention as part of the package.

«General prevention means that all people currently on Estonian territory need to realise and see that every crime is discovered and also punished,» she said, and explained that specific prevention is to make the convicted realise the inevitable punishment as such acts are committed.

Due to the aforementioned, the court «found it impossible to punch the individuals conditionally,» noted Ms Särgava.

Flight ticket and cash

Mr Manko’s lawyer Olavi-Jüri Luik said he’d appeal the ruling, claiming that the man is not guilty. The lawyer stressed that it had not been proven that his customer had given money to Abdurrahman Sazanakov who is in Syria and a member of a terrorist organisation.

Furthermore: there’s nothing to prove that Mr Manko knew Mr Sazanakov was in Syria and what he was doing there. Mr Manko thought Mr Sazanakov was in Egypt studying Arabic. Communication with alleged criminal, said the lawyer, cannot be counted a crime. Also, said Mr Luik, Mr Sazanakov should be interrogated as well.

According to the charges, Russian citizens Ramil Khalilov and Roman Manko supported Abdurrahman Sazanakov (formerly Ivan Sazanakov – edit), once an inhabitant of Estonia, in his activities in an armed terrorist organisation on Syrian territory where security police data says he headed to fight in July 2013.  

Mr Khalilov, being aware of intent by Mr Sazanakov to join the terrorist organisation, booked and bought him a ticket to a domestic Turkish flight from Antalya to Hatay near Syrian border, printed out the travel document proving the booking, and explained its use at the Airport, enabling Mr Sazanakov to reach Syria and there to join the terrorist organisation. Mr Khalilov collected money from his acquaintances for Mr Sazanakov and, in the fall of 2013, accepted €600 from Mr Manko for Mr Sazanakov. On October, 17th to 22nd 2013, Mr Khalilov visited Mr Sazanakov in Syria, taking along Mr Sazanakov’s wife and their minor children, and passed the money to Mr Sazanakov.

The charges say Mr Khalilov supported terrorist crimes by Mr Sazanakov since 2013, repeatedly asking acquaintances for money for Mr Sazanakov while knowing it could be used for committing terrorist crimes. In 2014, Mr Khalilov forwarded Mr Manko a request to go to Latvia and ask money for Mr Sazanakov to support Jihad.

Also, Mr Khalilov was accused of acting as accessory to belonging into a terrorist organisation. Pursuant to the charges, he provided spiritual assistance to Mr Sazanakov, boosting his will and expressing constant approval and favour towards Mr Sazanakov’s activities as part of the terrorist organisation.

According to charges, Mr Manko was also aware of Mr Sazanakov joining the terrorist organisation, supporting and financing it. In the autumn of 2013, he gave €400 and afterwards €200 more to Mr Khalilov to be handed to Mr Sazanakov. During the second half of the same year, he tried to transfer money to Mr Sazanakov in Syria via Western Union but the transaction was not completed outside of his will. According to data established during preliminary investigations, Mr Manko was in Riga in February 2014 and asked money to support the activity of Mr Sazanakov.

Lawyer finds fault with prosecutor

State prosecutor Laura Vaik was satisfied with the ruling, deeming the punishment just. «Mr Sazanakov has been proclaimed an international fugitive, wherefore he has not been interrogated during the procedure,» she said.

Mr Luik the lawyer found fault with the prosecutor for sending the charges to court without waiting the prescribed ten days as appointed for lawyers to file applications and requests. Ms Vaik admitted the criminal case was sent to court in a hurry as the accused were being held in jail but their rights were still guaranteed.

By the prosecutor, Mr Khalilov and Mr Manko were asked to be jailed for eight and seven years respectively.

At the court sessions, the men denied supporting and financing terrorism. «I am not an extremist, I am not a terrorist, not a radical. I am totally bewildered,» Mr Manko told the court while giving testimony at the end of November.

In court, Mr Luik as lawyer to Mr Manko, and Kristi Rande as lawyer to Mr Khalilov explained that the accused were simply helping, according to Islamic custom, a fellow Muslim with family who had lost his job.