July 19, 2017

Crimean Tatars: Leading Activist to be Under Police Supervision for 8 Years

Photo courtesy of Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty

 

On 11 July 2017, a court in Russia ruled that, Rafis Kashapov, a preeminent activist who has criticised Russia’s treatment of Crimean Tatars, will be barred from both political and public activities for eight years. This is said to be an unprecedented decision in Russia. In a politically motivated trial held on 15 September 2015, Kashapov had been sentenced to three years in prison by Russian authorities for allegedly inciting ethnic hatred. The chairman of the Tatar Public Centre had been vocal online about his frustrations with Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea.

Below is an article published by Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty

A leading Tatar activist will remain under police supervision for eight years after his expected release from prison later this year.

In what lawyers are describing as an unprecedented decision, a court in Russia's Komi region ruled on July 11 that Rafis Kashapov, chairman of the Tatar Public Center, be barred from political and public activities for eight years under parole-like supervision.

Kashapov's lawyer, Ruslan Garifullin, told RFE/RL on July 13 that Russian law allows post sentence restrictions placed on those who "systematically violate penitentiary regulations," but being placed under police supervision for eight years is unprecedented in Russia. Kapashov was convicted of calling for separatism and inciting ethnic enmity in his native city of Chally in September 2015. He was sentenced to three years in prison, including time served, and is set for release in December.

He posted several articles on the Internet in 2014 that harshly criticized Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea and its treatment of Crimean Tatars, as well as Moscow's involvement in the war in eastern Ukraine.

Kashapov says his case was politically motivated. Kashapov's Tatar Public Center is an NGO in Tatarstan's second-largest city, Chally, which campaigns to preserve Tatar national identity, language, and culture.