Russian who helped son leave ISIL arrested

Kazim Nurmagomedov gained prominence for dissuading young men from joining terror group

An image grab taken from a propaganda video uploaded by ISIL in 2014 allegedly shows their militants. AFP
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A man from Russia's Muslim Dagestan region has been charged with links to an illegal armed group, a court official in Dagestan said, years after he began helping families persuade sons recruited by ISIL to renounce the militants and leave Syria.

Kazim Nurmagomedov, 63, was detained in Moscow on Wednesday and tranferred to Dagestan where he was formally arrested on Thursday on charges of assisting in a crime related to an illegal armed group in Russia or abroad, the official confirmed.

The official at the court in Dagestan declined to comment further.

Mr Nurmagomedov has gained prominence for dissuading young men from joining ISIL and helping families persuade their sons to leave the group's ranks in Syria. He also helped his own son Marat quit ISIL.

Marat, 33, told Reuters in July that he had joined the violent organisation in 2013, but two years later had changed his mind.

He walked across the Syrian border into Turkey and finally settled in Ukraine, he said, slipping in unnoticed thanks to a breakdown in intelligence-sharing between Moscow and Kiev after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

But Marat's brother Shamil, a businessman in the Moscow region, was arrested for sending money to help him get out of Syria and charged with financing terrorism.

On Wednesday, Mr Nurmagomedov was detained as he was leaving Shamil's ongoing trial in Moscow.

"Naturally, he (Kazim Nurmagomedov) denies he is guilty," said Imagadji, another of Mr Nurmagomedov 's sons.

Denis Sokolov, an expert on the northern Caucasus region, said that Mr Nurmagomedov appeared to have been arrested at least in part because he had gained prominence with his attempts to dissuade others from joining ISIL, throwing a spotlight on a potentially uncomfortable issue for Russian authorities.

He said that Mr Nurmagomedov had befriended many families and encouraged or helped them to bring their sons home.

"I don't know anyone else who has extracted that many people from Islamic State, or stopped such a large number from going to join them in the first place," Mr Sokolov said.


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