CrimeaSOS: the occupiers continue persecuting members of the “Alushta” Muslim community

24 / 11 / 2023

On November 23, 2023, at six in the morning, security forces detained three Crimean Tatars, members of the “Alushta” Muslim community, after searches. This was reported by the Crimean Solidarity civic association. 

“Persecution of the Muslim community is a violation of the right to freedom of religion, provided for in Art. 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Art. 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights”, — CrimeaSOS analyst Yevhenii Yaroshenko says. 

In the evening, the so-called “Alushta city court” decided on the administrative arrest of Vilen Useinov and Zinur Appazov for 10 and 5 days, respectively. Publications in social networks became the reason for the punishment. Moreover, Useinov spread the post even before the occupation of Crimea, in 2013. The “court” sentenced Yusuf Ashirov to 2 days of administrative arrest for “violation of public order”.  Allegedly, he spoke obscenely about the “police” employees. 

Recent searches and detention of members of the “Alushta” Muslim religious community grossly violate human rights and the provisions of international humanitarian law. In addition, the russians violate Art. 58 of the IV Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, which obliges the occupying power to allow religious ministers to provide spiritual support to their co-religionists. 

“First of all, searches and detentions take place on the basis of an alleged administrative offense under russian law, which the occupying state illegally applies in the occupied territory in violation of Art. 43 Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land (Annex to the IV Hague Convention)”, — Yevhenii Yaroshenko added.

On November 23, 2023, at six in the morning, it became known about searches in the houses of three Crimean Tatars — Vilen Useinov, Yusuf Ashirov, and Zinur Appazov. 

The detained Crimean Tatars were taken to the police station by the staff of the Centre for Combating Extremism, and later they were transferred to the “Alushta city court”. Relatives and case listeners were not allowed into the building, hearings were held behind closed doors.

Since 2019, russia has conducted several waves of searches and arrests of members of the “Alushta” Muslim community. According to CrimeaSOS analyst Yevhenii Yaroshenko, as of now at least 6 Crimean Tatars from this community have become victims of illegal persecution. 

The first wave of repression took place in June 2019, when two Crimean Tatars, Ruslan Mesutov and community leader Lenur Khalilov, were detained. Later, they were sentenced to 18 years in prison for alleged “involvement in the activities of the Hizb ut-Tahrir organization”. 

In 2020-2021, the imam of the “Alushta” community, Yusuf Ashirov, was fined twice for “illegal missionary activity”. In August 2023, the occupiers searched the house of the former head of the community, Ruslan Emirvaliiev. The basis was a search for “Ukrainian saboteurs”, a check on cooperation with the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the anti-russian propaganda.


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