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Thread: Crimea Tatar leader sentenced

  1. #1
    The Un-Holy One The Man's Avatar
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    Crimea Tatar leader sentenced



    A court in Crimea has sentenced a leader of the peninsula’s Tatar community to eight years behind bars for inciting civil unrest, the Krym.Realii news website reported Monday.

    The Crimean Supreme Court found Akhtem Chiigoz guilty of provoking clashes between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian activists outside a government building in Simferopol on Feb. 26, 2014.

    Chiigoz’ attorney Nikolai Polozov told supporters gathered outside the courthouse on Monday that the verdict “is against the entire Crimean Tatar population,” according to Krym.Realii.

    Chiigoz, deputy head of the Tatar representative assembly known as the Mejlis, was detained in late January 2015.

    The fact the court recognized Chiigoz as a citizen of Ukraine “gives us a chance to talk about his extradition,” leader of the Mejlis Refat Chubarov said at a press conference in Kiev.

    Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman told Krym.Realii that Kiev plans to seek Chiigoz’s release through appeals to the international community. “Ukraine will continue to fight for all citizens who fell victim to the Russian occupational authorities,” she said.

    Crimean leader Sergei Aksyonov described the ruling “fair and reasonable” in a Facebook post on Monday.

    The case against Chiigoz is seen as part of Moscow’s crackdown on the Crimean Tatars, a Turkic ethnic group, following the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014. Many Tatars boycotted a referendum on March 16 in which local authorities said 97 percent voted to join Russia. Kiev and the West refused to recognize the referendum.

    The Tatars were forcefully deported from Crimea under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin and were only allowed to return only in the final years of the Soviet Union.
    Crimean Court Sentences ‘Extremist’ Tatar Leader to 8 Years

    2 people died in those clashes back in 2014...

    The Russians banned the Tatar Mejlis after seizing Crimea, and arrested some of its leaders, including Chiigoz, while others are in exile in Kiev. They also shut down the Tatar TV channel, ATR; although a new, pro-Russian Tatar channel, MilletTV, began broadcasting soon after. And a number of Tatar figures (including some former high ranking Mejlis people), who supported the Russian takeover, received high government posts and other rewards.

  2. #2
    The Un-Holy One The Man's Avatar
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    Today’s conviction of Ilmi Umerov, a prominent critic of the Russian occupation and leader of the Crimean Tatar people, is the latest encroachment on fundamental rights and freedoms on the peninsula, and must be immediately quashed, said Amnesty International. Ilmi Umerov was sentenced by a de facto court in Crimea this morning to two years in a penal colony.

    Last week, the same court handed Ukrainian journalist Mykola Semena a two and a half year suspended prison sentence. Both men stood accused of threatening territorial integrity of the Russian Federation on account of their public opposition to the Russian occupation and annexation of Crimea.

    “The sentencing of Ilmi Umerov, who is 60 and has Parkinson’s disease, marks yet another stage in the de facto government’s lengthy persecution of him. His imprisonment follows a series of politically-motivated trials, arbitrary arrests and intimidation against critics of Russian authorities in Crimea. It is a clear violation of freedom of expression,” said Oksana Pokalchuk, Director of Amnesty International Ukraine.

    In less than a month, three vocal critics of Russia’s annexation of Crimea have been convicted after being brought before criminal courts for non-violently opposing the de facto authorities. On 22 September, Ukrainian journalist and Crimea resident, Mykola Semena was found guilty on similar “separatism” charges. Eleven days before that, Akhtem Chiygoz, deputy leader of the Mejlis – the executive-representative body for Crimean Tatars – was sentenced to eight years in a penal colony after a sham trial.

    “It looks like in Crimea reprisals will continue until there is no one left to criticize the occupation,” said Oksana Pokalchuk.

    “The sentences against Akhtem Chiygoz, Mykola Semena and Ilmi Umerov must be immediately quashed. Chiygoz should be immediately and unconditionally freed, and any restrictions imposed on any one of them as part of their sentence immediately lifted.”
    More: Crimea: Prominent critic of Russian occupation sentenced to two years in penal colony

    Russian lawyer Nikolai Polozov, who defended both Chiygoz and Umerov, writes on social media

    that, due to Umerov's chronic health issues, this is essentially a death sentence to him, especially given the condition of most medical facilities within Russia's prison camp system. Both men will likely not serve their terms in Crimea, but will be taken to mainland Russia, probably far away, perhaps even to Siberia. Their families will have a very difficult time establishing any communication with them. Given that such harsh sentences are specifically forwarded against Tatar figures, (rather than, say, Semena, who is Ukrainian, and got off with a suspended conditional sentence), the security and law enforcement services and prosecutors in Crimea are clearly under orders from Moscow to specifically keep a lid on the Tatar population and target their notables for repression if they raise their heads against Russia.

  3. #3
    The Un-Holy One The Man's Avatar
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    (Reuters) - Russia has freed two prominent Crimean Tatar activists opposed to Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region, their lawyer said on Wednesday. Ukraine's leader thanked Turkey's president for helping broker the release.

    Ilmi Umerov, deputy head of the Crimean Tatars' semi-official Mejlis legislature before it was suspended by Moscow, was sentenced last month by a Russian court to two years in jail for separatism.

    Ahtem Chiygoz, another Crimean Tatar leader, was sentenced at the same time to eight years for stirring anti-Russian protests.

    "What everyone had been waiting for so long, has happened," a defense lawyer for the Crimean Tatars, Nikolai Polozov, wrote on his Facebook page. "Two more hostages, two Ukrainian political prisoners have gained their freedom."

    There was no immediate confirmation of their release from Russian authorities.

    The Tatars, a mainly Muslim Turkic community that makes up about 15 percent of Crimea's population, have largely opposed Russian rule in the peninsula and say the 2014 annexation was illegal, a view supported by the West. They suffered mass deportation under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

    Nariman Dzhelyalov, a Crimean Tatar leader, told Reuters the two, Ilmi Umerov and Ahtem Chiygoz, had landed in Turkey.

    "This is the result of Turkey's talks with Russia with Ukraine's participation," he told Reuters.

    "After Erdogan's visit to Kiev, representatives of Russian competent bodies turned up at Umerov's house in Crimea to agree the terms (of the release)."

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko thanked Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan for his role in helping free the pair.

    Moscow says the overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted to join Russia in a proper and fair referendum.

    Western governments and human rights groups had alleged the two Crimean Tatar leaders were imprisoned for speaking out against Russia's annexation of Crimea, and pressed Moscow to release them.

    Umerov's supporters said at the time that the two-year jail term handed to him actually amounted to a death penalty for the elderly man who suffers from Parkinson's disease.

    Russian officials denied the prosecutions were politically-motivated.

    A U.N. human rights report said last month that Russia had committed grave human rights violations in Crimea, including its imposition of citizenship and deporting of prisoners. Moscow said it deemed those allegations "groundless".
    Russia frees two pro-Kiev Crimea Tatar leaders from jail | Article [AMP] | Reuters

    Aside from the Turks, I heard that Emirali Ablaev, the Mufti of Crimea, the Muslim spiritual leader of the Crimean Tatars, who was once among the leaders of the Mejlis as well

    though later distanced himself and began cooperating with the new Russian authorities under Governor Sergey Aksyonov

    for which he was denounced by exiled Mejlis leaders and supporters in Ukraine and Turkey; had personally asked Putin to pardon these two. At least, some local media there have claimed as much.

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