Russia to imprison five Crimean Tatars for a total of 65 years

11 January, 06:56 PM
Defendents in Hizb ut-Tahrir case (Photo:Crimean Solidarity / Facebook)

Defendents in Hizb ut-Tahrir case (Photo:Crimean Solidarity / Facebook)

A Russian court has handed down 13-year sentences to five Crimean Tatars in a case human rights defenders have decried as one of political repression.

The public movement Crimean Solidarity reported on Facebook on Jan. 11 that the defendents – Servet Gaziev, Dzhemil Gafarov, Alim Karimov, Seyran Murtazi and Erfan Osmanov – had all been found guilty of belonging to a banned political organization – Hizbut-Tahrir.

Russian judge Valeriy Opanasenko found all the defendants guilty and sentenced each of them to 13 years in a strict regime colony. Restrictions on their freedom of movement for a year after release were also imposed on all of them, with Gaziev and Karimov having a year-and-a-half of such restrictions.

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Karimov, commenting on the verdict said, "After such verdicts our country becomes another North Korea."

He was removed from the courtroom.

An analyst from human rights organization "Crimea SOS," Yevhen Yaroshenko, claimed the older defendants Gaziev and Gafarov were subjected to inhuman treatment while in Russian detention.

"Due to terrible detention conditions, the health conditions of Dzhemil Gafarov and Servet Gaziev have deteriorated significantly. Lack of proper medical care can be regarded as inhuman treatment by the occupiers," Yaroshenko said.

On March 27, 2019, the Russian security service conducted a search of houses of Crimean Tatars on Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula.

It was seen by human rights organizations as the most serious human rights violation in the occupied territory by Russia to date.

Twenty Crimean Tatars were detained as a result of the search. They were sent to Simferopol on suspicion of being members or supporters of Hizb ut-Tahrir, activists said.

On March 28, three activists for Crimean Solidarity were arrested in Rostov-on-Don in Russia.

"A court" arrested all 23 detained Crimean Tatars.

Members of the Islamic political organization Hizb ut-Tahrir are regularly persecuted in Russia and in the Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory of Crimea. 

The organization aims to re-establish a caliphate that would unite the Muslim community into a single state, but it has not engaged in any terrorist activity.

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