Chechnya's Supreme Court Rejects Jailed Journalist's Early Release

GROZNY, Russia -- The Supreme Court of Russia's North Caucasus region of Chechnya has rejected the ruling of a lower court that granted early release to a jailed independent journalist.

Alaudi Musayev, a lawyer for journalist Zhalaudi Geriyev, said on November 8 that the regional Supreme Court canceled a ruling of the Naur district court in September to release his client early after serving three-quarters of his three-year prison term.

Geriyev was sentenced to three years in prison in 2016 for drug possession, a charge he has denied from the very beginning.

The Moscow-based human rights center Memorial has recognized Geriyev as a political prisoner and New York-based Human Rights Watch has said he is being "punished" for his work as a journalist.

Geriyev, a contributor to the website Caucasian Knot, has been known for his reporting on human rights in Chechnya, which is tightly controlled by Kremlin-backed Ramzan Kadyrov.

Rights activists have blamed Kadyrov and his paramilitary forces for serious rights abuses, including the widespread use of kidnapping, torture, and extrajudicial killing.

With reporting by Caucasian Knot