In total, the Crimean authorities opened five criminal cases under Article 280.1. of the Criminal Code "Public calls for the implementation of actions aimed at violation of the Russian Federation's territorial integrity". The fifth one was the case of the Crimean Tatar activist, member of the Mejlis in Feodosia Suleiman Kadyrov.
Besides Kadyrov, the journalists Anna Andrievska and Mykola Semena, editor in chief of Internet publication «BlackSeaNews» Andrii Klymenko, as well as the Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis Ilmi Umerov involved in this article. If the subject in these cases were the charges of public statements or publications in the media, then as for the case of Kadyrov, this is about one comment, allegedly published by him in Facebook.
On the morning of October 5 15 security enforcers broke into the house of Suleiman Kadyrov in Feodosia. "They presented the search warrant of the Supreme Court of Crimea. My request to invite witnesses and lawyer was denied. They seized laptop and phone", – the activist says. The search lasted more than three hours.
On October 11 Kadyrov was summoned for questioning by the FSB investigator Selivanov K. A, former employee of the SBU known for the case of Crimean Maksim Filatov, sentenced to 6 years in prison for allegedly trying to undermine the building of the Crimean prosecutor's office.
In interrogation Kadyrov was notified about initiating criminal case against him for "separatist" Article 280.1. of the Criminal Code. "A copy of the resolution to institute criminal proceedings was not handed to me, I had to write a petition to get it", – Kadyrov said. He got the resolution only a week later, on the second interrogation.
According to investigators, on March 29, 2016, Kadyrov posted in his account in Facebook a video of a blogger Damian Demyanchenko called "new battalion". In the video Demyanchenko expressed support for "Crimea" battalion and called to wage war against Russia for the return of the Crimea. The protocol also states that Kadyrov left the next comment under the video message: "I, Suleiman Kadyrov, agree: Crimea is Ukraine. It always was and would be like that. Thanks to the author for the video. My support".
According to the lawyer Emil Kurbedinov, who leads the case against the blogger, whose video Kadyrov posted on his page, a criminal case was already opened in 2015, and he was convicted. There are really the profiles of Demyan Demyanchenko in social networks Facebook and Vkontakte, with symbols of the battalion "Crimea". These pages are almost empty, however, and the last entry in them date back to 2014 year. Also you can find a video of Demyanchenko in YouTube, which most likely the investigator refers to.
Kadyrov himself does not remember that he left such comments under this video, especially in uncharacteristic manner. "During the interrogation, I refused to testify, citing article 51 of the Constitution", — he says.
"Kadyrov did not plead guilty, he says, it's not his style, and he does not remember that such writing", — Kurbedinov confirms.
Another interrogation took place on October 18. There the investigator said that a video of the blogger Demyanchenko and comment of Kadyrov, left under the video, would be sent to the linguistic expertise.
"They want to make it tricky and to mix video and comment of Kadyrov. According to the wording of the questions sent to the expertise, they do not divide these two facts. As a result, the examination will show that the video calls for violation of territorial integrity, and the sentnece written by Kadyrov justifies these actions therefore also calls for these things", — Kurbedinov explains.
Kadyrov is confident that the criminal proceedings initiated against him as punishment for his public activity.
"I have worked to protect the rights of my people in Feodosia district, took part in the mourning rallies, actively informed the media about the ongoing court proceedings", — he said.
Emil Kurbedinov has the same opinion.
"He attended all the court hearings. He did not hide his active position. He tells the inspector: "I have a pro-Ukrainian position", I believe that the Crimea is Ukraine, but I do not consider myself a criminal and do not call for a violation of the territorial integrity. Therefore FSB motives are obvious", — the lawyer explains.
The next interrogation is scheduled for October 25. Speaking about the prospects of this criminal case, Kurbedinov suggests that a conditional sentence would be imposed in the final result.
"In this case, the person is on the hook. They will give two-year suspended sentence. One extra step — and they give real time. The man then goes and is afraid even to commit an administrative offense", — the lawyer sums up.
According to an expert on international law Eugenia Andreyuk, the case of Suleiman Kadyrov creates a new precedent in the prosecution system in Crimea.
"The message in this case is simple — everything is being read, everything is controlled, and, if neccessary, everything is used. This case sets a precedent for the prosecution of any person who allows himself to somehow publicly express disagreement, even if it is a comment in Facebook», — she explains.
Article 280.1 appeared in the Russian Criminal Code in May 2014. The first criminal case under this article was initiated against Kuban activist Daria Polyudova. She was one of the organizers of the failed "March for the federalization of the Kuban". She was sentenced to two years of life in the colony. Recently, the Supreme Court of RF refused to consider the complaint of Polyudovova against the verdict, and the case should go to the ECHR soon.
According to the international human rights group "Agora", in general 15 such cases have been considered for two and a half years in Russia.