We, the undersigned Ukrainian NGOs, are highly concerned with this new wave of mass searches and strongly condemn the systematic groundless persecution of the Crimean Tatars by the occupational authorities.
In light of the above-mentioned, we demand the authorities of the Russian Federation and the occupational Crimean authorities:
We ask international organizations and foreign governments:
Searches were carried out in the houses of Crimean Tatar activists belonging to the Crimean Solidarity movement. This is a platform, which unites relatives of political prisoners and their lawyers, with the goal of helping all Kremlin’s hostages suffering from injustice in Crimea. In frames of their activity, members of Crimean Solidarity provide legal, financial and moral assistance to the victims and their relatives.
The Russian media reported that five individuals (Remzi Bekirov, Shaban Umerov, Riza Izetov, Farid Bazarov, Ruslan Suleymanov) are accused of organising activities of a terrorist organisation under Article 205.5, Section 1, of the Russian Criminal Code, while others of participating in activities of a terrorist organisation (Article 205.5, Section 2). FSB officers are still looking for another 4 Crimean Tatars. Due to this, FSB officers carry out searches in all the houses in Strohanivka village of Simferopol region, the whole area is blocked, checkpoints to examine the cars have been set up.
The charges are based on the Crimean Tatars’ alleged participation in the Hizb ut-Tahrir religious organisation, recognised as a terrorist one by the Russia’s Supreme Court in 2003. According to the Ukrainian legislation, Hizb ut-Tahrir’s activity is legitimate.
Moreover, the FSB officials acted in violation of the established rules: for instance, searches were carried out without a warrant, lawyers were not admitted to their clients, the FSB representatives damaged property in the searched houses.
It should be reminded that apart from those persons apprehended today, 33 Crimean Tatars have been already accused on similar charges. Among them is founder of the Crimean Contact Group Emir Usein Kuku, who continuously helped the families in search of their abducted relatives and protected rights of other victims of the human rights abuses. He has been imprisoned for more than 3 years already. All the leading human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, qualify his case as a politically motivated. The same relates to Server Mustafaev, one of the founders of the Crimean Solidarity movement.
Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin
Center for Civil Liberties
Crimean Human Rights Group
CrimeaSOS Public Organisation
Human Rights Center ZMINA
Media Initiative for Human Rights
Regional Center for Human Rights
Ukrainian Institute for Human Rights
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union