In the occupied Crimea the activities of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars are suspended. The corresponding decision was made by the Russian prosecutor of Crimea Natalia Poklonska. The lawyer of the case of ban the Mejlis Jemil Temishev was informed about this on the 13th of April. By the way, there is no information about this decision on the "Prosecutor's Office of Crimea" website. At the same time, there is a statement about this on the prosecutor’s Facebook page.
The published document says, the activities of the Mejlis are suspended until the "Supreme Court of Crimea" does not make it’s decision. Let us recall, today, on April 15th, the regular court session on the case of ban of the Mejlis takes place.
Decision of Natalia Poklonska is addressed to the First Chairman Assistant of Mejlis Nariman Dzhelialov and to the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation for putting the representative body of Crimean Tatars on the list of "public and religious associations, whose activities are suspended in connection with "extremist activity".
Ban before the court’s decision
QirimInfo failed to communicate with Nariman Dzhelialov for comment. In turn Jemil Temishev told, that this decision is actually a ban of Mejlis before the court’s decision.
"Russian law really provides the possibility of adopting interlocutory injunction, what means that the activities of the Mejlis will be banned before the court’s decision," — he explained.
The prosecutor refers in the document to the Federal Law of the Russian Federation "Counteraction to Extremist Activities", in particular to Art. 9 and 10. Thus, art. 10 says, that "the rights of it’s social, regional and other structural departments are suspended" — they are forbidden to use media, to conduct public events, to take part in the elections and to use bank deposits, except for the payment of taxes, fees and fines. Thus, the decision means a ban on the activity not only of Mejlis, but of all the network of regional Mejlis.
Pre-trial suspension of the activities is not yet a common practice in Russia. As a rule, organizations are liquidated by the court’s decision. So, at the moment there is only one organization in the register of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation of fighting extremism, whose work has been suspended, and it is the largest organization of Russian nationalists in the Russian Federation "Ethnopolitical association "Russians".
According to Jemil Temishev, such actions of the authorities are connected with desire to obtain a decision to ban the Mejlis "here and now". "We supposed that some other methods would be used, because it came out impossible to adjudge hurriedly. An objective consideration of the case needs many documents, questioning of many witnesses, making a number of examinations, and it is a long process", — Temishev said.
The lawyer also said that the defense plans to appeal against the prosecutor's decision in court in the near future. "I think this is abuse of law and the prosecutor incorrectly qualifies actions of the Mejlis. Her decision will be appealed in the near future", — Temishev said.
"On orders from the Kremlin"
The Chairman of the Mejlis Refat Chubarov also responded to the prosecutor’s actions. He expressed an opinion, that this decision was made "on orders from the Kremlin".
"This is a cynical response of [the Russian President] Putin to the appeal of participants of meeting (which took place on the March 2016) of the United Nations Security Council and the United Nations Human Rights Council on the termination about the persecution of the Mejlis", — he wrote on his Facebook page.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine also responded to actions of the Crimean authorities.
"We consider it [decision] the violation of the Russian Federation's obligations under international law as an occupying state, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination", — it is said in a statement of the Department. A speaker of the MFA Mariana Betz wrote in her twitter that the prosecutor's decision "is actually a genocide of the Crimean Tatars".
The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko held a historical parallel, comparing the actions of the prosecutor's office with the Stalinist policy in relation to the Crimean Tatars.
"I appeal to the international community: every day of occupation brings new threat to the residents of Crimea. The only way to stop this lawlessness is to cease an annexation of the peninsula, and to bring out the Russian occupation troops completely", — it is said in the President's statement on the official Facebook page.
Also yesterday over the Embassy of Ukraine in Lithuania raised the Flag of the Crimean Tatars in solidarity. Let us recall, a regular meeting of Coordinating Council of World Congress of Crimean Tatars started in Lithuania recently.
Pending the court’s decision
Yuliya Tishchenko, an Expert of the Ukrainian Independent Centre for Political Research does not rule out, that such actions of the Crimean authorities may provoke trailing of the trial proceedings about the Mejlis case.
"After the prosecutor's office’s decision, we got a certain crisis. Now the court’s decision is hanging over like a sword of Damocles, and it can happen, we will wait for it for a long period", — the analyst says.
She takes notice of contradiction between the laws regulations on fighting extremist and the activities of the Mejlis.
"Formally, they can exercise it, but only in the case of threating human life. There were no such arguments during the trial. It is difficult to imagine how the law items can correlate with the activities of the Mejlis", — she explained.
Tishchenko concludes, that the decision could be ordered from Moscow in response to the United Nations Security Council resolution, which it was mentioned about the prohibiting of ban the Mejlis in. It is also possible to be a reaction to attention to the Crimean situation from the recent meeting of the "G7" countries.
"Such kind of political reaction shows, that Russian authorities do not demonstrate any weakening and acquiescence, ability to negotiate, a simple dialogue on the Crimea topic and all subjects related to it," — an expert concludes.