UFA, Russia — A woman in Ufa, the capital of Russia’s Republic of Bashkortostan, has gone on trial on a charge of financially supporting extremism because she sent money to the mother of Airat Dilmukhametov, a prominent opposition activist who was sentenced to nine years in prison on extremism charges last year.
Ilmira Bikbayeva, 59, pleaded not guilty as her trial started at Ufa’s Kirov district court on February 4.
Bikbayeva told RFE/RL before the trial that she had sent about 6,000 rubles ($79) to Dilmukhametov’s mother to support her. The funds came in several installments between 2018 and 2019.
Investigators say the money Bikbayeva sent was used by Dilmukhametov for conducting extremist activities.
If found guilty, Bikbayeva may face a hefty fine or up to 8 years in prison.
Dilmukhametov, who has insisted that the case against him is politically motivated, was arrested in March 2019 and sentenced to nine years in prison after a court found him guilty of calling to violate Russia’s territorial integrity and for making public calls for extremism and to support terrorism.
The charge against Dilmukhametov stemmed from a video statement he made in 2018 urging the creation of a “real” federation in Russia with more autonomous rights given to ethnic republics and regions.