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October 24 – October 30 News Digest: Top 7 Stories about Crimea

October 30, 2015 12:48 0 2165 QirimInfo
Trial on Chubarov in absentia, Sentsov and Kolchenko's appeal, IPDs unable to vote on local elections and more.

Only 2 out of 1.5m IDPs able to vote on local elections in Ukraine

October 26. According to human rights activists, only two out of about 1 500 000 IDPs were able to assert their right to vote in local elections in Ukraine. In Ukraine only people with local registration are allowed to vote in local elections, but the majority of the IDPs did not register after moving for various reasons, including hopes to return home one day or lack of their own accommodation to register at. Nonetheless, IDPs believe that they have a right to influence regional politics after living in a new place for more than a year. After Ukrainian MPs failed to introduce the bill giving IDPs voting rights, some people decided to protect this right in court individually, but their claims were satisfied only in two cases, leaving about 4% of voting population unable to vote.

Crimean court leaves defendant in “February 26” in detention

October 26. Kyiv Raion Court of Simferopol has denied the appeal of Crimean Tatar activist Ali Asanov, was arrested on April 15 on suspicion of participating in mass unrest on February 26, 2014, regarding the level of pretrial restriction. Asanov’s defense said that the decision of Kyiv Court to keep Asanov in prison is violating the code of criminal procedure and Ali Asanov, a father of four, is not going to run away and asked to replace detention with a less strict level of pretrial restriction — house arrest or travel restrictions. Asanov’s lawyer also claims that court’s decision is a “political job” and was “ordered from above”.

Dzhemilev calls for law restoring old Crimean toponyms

October 27. The Commissioner of the President of Ukraine for the Affairs of Crimean Tatars Mustafa Dzhemilev has suggested to pass a separate law restoring old Crimean toponyms. He says that the world will be forced to use the new names on the maps printed, according to the norm of international law.

Russian authorities to let Crimeans not pay debts to Ukrainian banks

October 28. Self-proclaimed Head of Crimea Sergey Aksyonov made an appeal to Russian authorities asking to declare a moratorium on repaying debts of Crimean citizens to Ukrainian banks. Ukrainian credit organizations were forced to leave the peninsula after the annexation and were unable to reclaim the loans, but later found a work-around using legal means laid down in Russian laws. Aksyonov wants to create a special body that will regulate the process for repaying these debts “with all factors considered” and cancel interest and fines charged after March 16, 2014, due to “force majeure circumstances”. It is estimated that about 350 thousand Crimean citizens have debt to Ukrainian banks or credit organizations.

Crimean authorities want to arrest Refat Chubarov

October 28. Crimean authorities are charging Refat Chubarov, Head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, with “public calls for actions aimed at violating territorial integrity of Russia” and want to detain him for two months as pretrial restriction. Chubarov, who previously was banned by Crimean authorities from entering Crimea, says he was not notified about either the date and place of court session or the nature of the charges. After the court’s decision Russian Prosecutor General of Crimea Natalia Poklonskaya said that the ban for Chubarov was cancelled and “he is welcome in Crimea”.

Chernomorneftegaz to increase gas prices for Crimeans

October 28. Chernomorneftegaz, Crimean oil and gas company that previously belonged to Ukraine and was nationalized by the occupational authorities in March 2014 , is considering increasing gas prices for wholesale buyers by 10-15%. According to company’s CEO, Crimea has the lowest prices for gas in Russia, though the costs of extracting gas from the sea shelf are higher. Chernomorneftegaz is planning to develop new deposits, but it will be able reach industrial-scale production no sooner than in six years.

Russian Supreme Court to consider Sentsov and Kolchenko’s appeal

October 28. Russian Supreme Court has scheduled the hearing for appeals of Ukrainian activists Oleg Sentsov and Olexandr Kolchenko on November 24. Sentsov and Kolchenko were sentenced by North Caucasus Military District Court on charges of terrorism to 20 and 10 years in prison respectively.

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