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Human rights violations in Crimea. November 2015

December 11, 2015 15:51 0 2723 QirimInfo
Two key trends of the last month are persecution of activists and Crimean Tatars and inability of occupational authorities to provide decent living conditions for Crimeans.

Victims of persecution are mainly pro-Ukrainian activists and their associates, including supporters of the civil blockade of Crimea, who were repeatedly searched and questioned this month.

There have also been cases of human rights violations against political prisoners. Defendants in “February 26” and Hizb ut-Tahrir cases had their detention terms extended, while Oleg Sentsov and Oleksandr Kolchenko’s appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court of Russia. The second trend is the deterioration of living conditions in Crimea and failure of de facto authorities to supply the needs of Crimeans. Heating season was delayed, with heating repeatedly    turned off throughout the month. Explosions that damaged power lines in Kherson Oblast of Ukraine have caused a blackout in Crimea and left medical and educational institutions without power, and local authorities were unable to provide temporary autonomous power supply.

Yevgeniya Andreyuk, Deputy Coordinator at CrimeaSOS, MA in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights.

Persecution and intimidation of activists

Homes of journalists and civil blockade organizers searched

November 2. Russian enforcers searched homes of former Crimean Tatar TV channel ATR employees Elzara Islyamova and Lilya Budzhurova and relatives of Lenur Islyamov, ATR owner and co-organizer of civil blockade of Crimea. Law enforcers refused to wait for a lawyer before starting the search and let him witness the proceeding after he arrived. These searches were a part of investigation against the organizers of the civil blockade of Crimea.

Students arrested for vandalizing pictures of Putin

November 18. Crimean law enforcers detained two students, who were vandalizing billboards depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin. De facto Head of Crimea Sergey Aksyonov believes that the offenders were acting at somebody’s orders. Law enforcers are currently searching for the instigators.

Crimean Tatar activist detained for 7 hours at Crimean border

November 25. Veldar Shukurdzhiev, activist of Crimean NGO Ukrainian Cultural Center, was detained by Russian border guards during an attempt to cross the administrative border between Ukraine and Crimea. Border guards tried to serve Shukurdzhiev a ban on entering Crimea until 2030, but let him go seven hours later.

Son of “Crimea” fund head questioned

November 26. Riza Shevkiev, son of “Crimea” fund founder, was summoned for questioning by Russian law enforcers. According to Shevkiev, the questioning was connected to the civil blockade of Crimea. Law enforcers have also questioned Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev’s wife, Safinar Dzhemileva, as a part of this case.

FSB searched house of Eskender Bariev’s parents

November 26. According to Mejlis member Eskender Bariev, FSB officials searched his parents’ house in search of Bariev himself. Bariev’s sisters were also summoned for questioning. Both the search and the questionings were a part of investigation of power lines explosions in Kherson oblast.

Homes of heads of regional mejlises searched

November 30. FSB officials searched homes of two Crimean Tatar politicians, who head regional mejlises of the Crimean Tatar people in Kirovskiy and Sovestkiy Raions of Crimea. The searches were related to a criminal case regarding the power lines explosions in Kherson oblast.

Political prisoners

Detention for defendant in “February 26” case extended

November 3. Kyiv Raion Court of Simferopol extended the detention term of Mustafa Degermendzhi, defendant in “February 26” case.

Detention for defendants in Hizb ut-Tahrir case extended

November 11. Leninsky Raion Court of Sevastopol has extended the term of detention for defendants in Hizb ut-Tahrir case. Rustem Vahitov, Ruslan Zeitullaev, Nuri Priiomov and Ferat Saifullaev will stay in detention for at least 2 more months. They are accused of being members of Hizb ut-Tahrir that is banned in Russia and considered a terrorist organization.

Crimean political prisoner Kostenko found in Kirov Oblast of Russia

November 12. Euromaidan activist Oleksandr Kostenko, who was tried and convicted in Crimea after the annexation, was found imprisoned at the penal colony #5 in Kirovo-Chepetsk (Kirov Oblast, Russia). According to Kostenko’s lawyer, Kostenko disappeared in October, when he was supposed to be transported elsewhere.

Detention for two defendants in “February 26” case extended

November 17. Kyiv Raion Court of Simferopol has extended detention for Crimean Tatar activists Ali Asanov and Mustafa Degermendzhi until February 19, 2016. The court said that the decision was based on concerns that defendants “might hide and exert pressure on the witnesses”.

Kolchenko denied meetings with his lawyers

November 20.  Lawyer Svitlana Sidorkina was unable to visit her client, Ukrainian political prisoner Oleksandr Kolchenko. “I was unable to get to Oleksandr. The formal reason is that there were no spare rooms,” she said.

Russian court refused to review Afanasiev’s case

November 20. Supreme Court of Russian Federation refused to consider the cassational appeal filed by the lawyer of Crimean political prisoner Genadii Afanasiev. Lawyer demanded a full review of Afanasiev’s case.

Russian Supreme Court keeps Sentsov and Kolchenko’s sentences in force

November 24. Supreme Court of Russian Federation examined the appeal against sentence for Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and activist Oleksandr Kolchenko and left the decision of North Caucasus court in force. Previously Russian authorities accused Crimeans Sentsov and Kolchenko of organizing acts of terrorism and sentenced them to 20 and 10 years in prison respectively.

Court refused to change form of pre-trial restriction for defendants in “February 26” case

November 30. Russian Supreme Court of Crimea upheld the decision of Kyiv Raion Court of Simferopol to extend the detention for defendants in “February 26” case Mustafa Degermendzhi and Ali Asanov until February 19, 2016, as well as Deputy Head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Ahtem Chiigoz until January 29, 2016. Their lawyers were asking to release the defendants on bail or replace detention with home arrest.

Right to adequate standard of living

Crimeans complain of cold radiators

November 17. Since the beginning of the heating season in Crimea, more than 200 Crimeans have filed complaints of utility companies providing inadequate heating level. “Despite the authorities claiming the heating season has fully started, we are still receiving complaints on inadequate heating,” said the head of an NGO focused on protection of rights of consumers.

Transformers in Sevastopol break down

November 25. As of November 25, more than 50 breakdowns in Sevastopol power supply network have been registered. According to a spokesperson of a local utility company, the breakdowns are caused by snowballing increase of load during the periods, when power is turned on.

13 major businesses closed in Simferopol

November 25. Due to the deficit of power, Simferopol administration decided to stop the operations of city’s biggest companies, including Pneumatica, SELMA, Simferopolselmash, Fiolent and others.

Heating turned off in Simferopol

November 23. Authorities of occupied Simferopol suspended the work of boiler rooms, allegedly due to considerable warming: “Operational group tasked with preventing and liquidating emergencies was told by utilities experts that there is no point in feeding the heat-transfer agent, when the air temperature is 19°C”.

50 000 houses left without power in Crimea

November 26. As of November 26, 670 cities, towns and villages — almost 50 000 houses — in Crimea have no power. In Shcholkine, Yalta, Alupka and Haspra Ministry of Emergency Situations set up special camps that provided food and power for locals.

Persecution of Crimean Tatars

“Extremism prevention meeting” held at Crimean mosque

November 9. In early November, occupational authorities of Krasnohvardiiske Raion held a meeting at the mosque of Dzhangara, an Islamic religious organization, to discuss extremism prevention methods. Officials talked about Russian laws concerning extremism and terrorism prevention and issues of preventing them in Krasnohvardiiske Raion of Crimea.

Crimeans forced to publicly condemn Mejlis

November 10. Russian authorities of Crimea attempted to organize public condemnation of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people. “Under the pretext of solving land issues officials of occupational authorities are trying to gather more people for meeting, where they then offer to vote for a resolution condemning the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people. A week ago this happened in Bakhchisaray Raion, when about 80 people gathered,” told Eskender Bariev, coordinator of the Committee for Protection of Crimean Tatars’ Rights.

Mosque in Crimea burgled

November 19. Unknown criminals burgled a mosque in a Crimean Tatar settlement near Sudak, taking donations from the parish.

Freedom of speech

Pro-Russian activists want to punish journalist for criticizing authorities

November 9. Crimean pro-Russian activists demand to punish Ekaterina Bubnova, editor-in-chief at ForPost new website, for publishing an editorial “All-Russian nursing home — this is the truth about Sevastopol’s innovative future”. According to Sevastopol governor Sergey Menyaylo, the article is insulting: “it insults not only the citizens of Sevatopol, but the elderly, who made way to life for us, as well”.

Right to property

Land plot taken from Lviv business

November 9. Russian administration of Yalta has refused prolong a leasing deal with Lviv businessman Oleg Genshaft concerning a plot of land that was leased to Genshaft nine years ago for construction of an apartment building. The decision formally was causes by discrepancies in the documents.

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